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Up In The Air Movie Script

Writer(s) : Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Genres : Drama, Romance

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                             UP IN THE AIR



                              Written by

                    Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner





          Secure your own mask before assisting others.
                         
                         
                         
           - Common Pre-Flight Instruction
           1.
                         
                         
          A SPOTLIGHT reveals RYAN BINGHAM standing at a PODIUM.
                         
          He unzips a BACKPACK and sets it down beside him.
                         
                          RYAN
           How much does your life weigh?
                         
          Ryan pauses to let us consider this.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Imagine for a second that you're
           carrying a backpack... I want you
           to feel the straps on your
           shoulders... You feel them?
           (gives us a beat)
           Now, I want you to pack it with all
           the stuff you have in your life.
           Start with the little things. The
           stuff in drawers and on shelves.
           The collectables and knick-knacks.
           Feel the weight as it adds up. Now,
           start adding the larger stuff. Your
           clothes, table top appliances,
           lamps, linens, your TV. That
           backpack should be getting pretty
           heavy at this point - Go Bigger.
           Your couch, your bed, your kitchen
           table. Stuff it all in... Your car,
           get it in there... Your home,
           whether you have a studio apartment
           or a two story house, I want you to
           stuff it into that backpack.
                         
          Ryan takes a beat to let the weight sink in.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Now try to walk.
                         
          We hear people around us chuckling. Ryan smiles. Reveal:
                         
                         
          INT. HOTEL CONFERENCE ROOM - AFTERNOON
                         
          The kind that shifts between lower income corporate retreats
          and lower income weddings.
                         
          The few dozen people seem to be visualizing as told.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Kinda hard, isn't it? This is what
           we do to ourselves on a daily
           basis. We weigh ourselves down
           until we can't even move. And make
           no mistake - Moving is living.
           2.
                         
                         
          We see nodding. People's gears turning.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Now, I'm going to set your backpack
           on fire. What do you want to take
           out of it? Photos? Photos are for
           people who can't remember. Drink
           some gingko and let the photos
           burn. In fact let everything burn
           and imagine waking up tomorrow with
           nothing.
           (a beat of emphasis)
           It's kind of exhilarating isn't it?
           That is how I approach every day.
                         
          A titter through the crowd.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - DAY
                         
          A FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT is looking directly at us.
                         
           FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
           Do you want the cancer?
                         
          Turn to see RYAN looking back.
                         
          Handsome. Anonymous. Right now - Confused.
                         
                          RYAN
           Excuse me?
                         
           FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
                          (SAME DELIVERY)
           Do you want the cancer?
                         
          Ryan furrows - What the hell is going on here?
                         
          The flight attendant raises her hand to reveal a CAN OF SODA.
                         
           FEMALE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
           The can, sir?
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh... No. Um, no thank you.
                         
          The flight attendant moves to the next aisle. Ryan takes a
          beat, then returns to his work.
                         
                         
          INT. SMALL CONFERENCE ROOM, SUN CASUALTY - DAY
                         
          Two words - Subordinate chic.
           3.
                         
                         
          Seated at a tiny table is RYAN. The Grim Reaper in a suit.
                         
          We see a series of REAL PEOPLE react to the news of being
          fired. They should be non-actors (actual victims of recent
          layoffs) that can react organically to the news with
          authenticity. Some are hurt. Others are upset and even
          abusive. The series concludes with...
                         
                         
          STEVE (AN ACTOR)
                         
          ... who's on the verge of tears.
                         
                          STEVE
           Who the fuck are you?
                         
          FREEZE on Ryan.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Excellent question. Who the fuck am
           I? Poor Steve has worked here for
           seven years.
                         
                          FLASH IMAGES:
                         
                         
          INT. STEVE'S CUBICLE - DAY
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           He's never had a meeting with me
           before...
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
                         
          Steve in a small meeting.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           ...or passed me in the hall...
                         
                         
          INT. ELEVATOR BRIDGE - DAY
                         
          Steve passes a female coworker.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           ... or told me a story in the break
           room....
                         
                         
          INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY
                         
          Steve laughs at a coworker's story.
           4.
                         
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           And that's because I don't work
           here. I work for another company
           that lends me out to pussies like
           Steve's boss...
                         
                         
          INT. STEVE'S BOSS'S OFFICE - DAY
                         
          Steve's BOSS sits at his desk. Subtitle reads - "A Big Pussy"
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           ... who don't have the balls to
           sack their own employees. And in
           some cases, for good reason.
           Because, people do crazy shit when
           they get fired.
                         
                         FLASH IMAGES:
                         
          Steve wipes off his boss's desk.
                         
          Steve shreds sensitive documents.
                         
          Steve pours bleach into the communal coffee pot.
                         
          Steve loads an assault rifle. He stands up to get a view of
          his coworkers on a coffee break.
                         
                          BACK TO:
                         
                         
          INT. SMALL CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
                         
          Steve is trying to hold it together.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           And that's where I come in.
                         
                          STEVE
           What did I... do? What could I have
           done differently here?
                         
                          RYAN
           This is not an assessment of your
           productivity. It's important not to
           personalize this.
                         
          Steve scoffs at this.
                         
          Ryan slides Steve a PACKET.
           5.
                         
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Steve, I want you to review this
           packet. Take it seriously. I think
           you're going to find a lot of
           answers in there.
                         
                          STEVE
                          (DISMISSIVE)
           Oh, I'm sure it's going be really
           helpful.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Look, anybody who ever built an
           empire, or changed the world, sat
           where you are now. And it's because
           they sat there that they were able
           to do it.
                         
          And just for a moment, Steve looks hopeful.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           I'm going to need your key card.
                         
                          STEVE
           Right...
                         
          Steve begins removing it from his wallet.
                         
                          RYAN
           Take the day. Put together your
           personal things. Talk to your co-
           workers. Tomorrow, go out and get
           some exercise. Go for a jog. Give
           yourself routines and pretty soon
           you'll find your legs.
                         
          Steve nods and gets up to leave. Just as he's about to walk
          out, he stops and turns back.
                         
                          STEVE
           Wait, how do I get in touch with you?
                         
                          RYAN
           Don't worry. We'll be in touch
           soon. This is just the beginning.
                         
          Steve nods and exits the room.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           I'll never see Steve again.
           6.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S ROOM - PHOENIX HILTON - DAY
                         
          The choreography of Ryan's packing is worthy of Tchaikovsky.
                         
          A coat slides off a hanger... A travel toothbrush folds
          closed like a switchblade... A briefcase clicks onto a roll-
          away bag... A hand flips a light switch without looking.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, PHOENIX HILTON - DAY
                         
          Ryan is at the check out desk.
                         
                          CHECKOUT GIRL
           Do you have your Hilton Honors Card
           with you?
                         
          Ryan smiles... "Do I?"
                         
          He hands it to her, close enough to camera, that we get a
          nice big close up of it. She runs the card and the screen
          pops up with information that makes her blush.
                         
                          CHECKOUT GIRL
           Oh my God... Do you like, live, at
           the Hilton?
                         
          Ryan nods in faux modesty.
                         
                         
          EXT. OUTDOOR CAR RETURN, HERTZ RENT-A-CAR - DAY
                         
          Ryan pulls up to one of the spaces marked with the #1 GOLD
          PRESIDENTS CLUB emblem. He hops out and a uniformed man with a
          handheld device begins to punch in the license plate number.
                         
          Ryan pulls out his HERTZ PRESIDENTS CLUB CARD and places it
          nice and close to lens so we can see it.
                         
          The card slides through the handheld device and we see the
          DIGITAL NUMBER increase by a few thousand points.
                         
                         
          INT. MAIN CONCOURSE, PHOENIX SKY HARBOR INTL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          The automated GLASS DOORS slide open. Ryan enters the
          concourse and takes a deep breath of the temperately
          controlled air. He has arrived.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           This is where I live.
                         
          Subtitles - "Airworld"
           7.
                         
                         
          Ryan skips the long lines and steps directly into the
          AAdvantage Executive Platinum line.
                         
          Glorious close-up of Ryan's AAdvantage Executive Platinum
          CARD sliding through the AUTOMATED MACHINE. Were it any
          sexier, we'd hear a moan. Maybe we even do.
                         
          Immediately, the AIRPORT CLERK registers and perks up.
                         
                          AIRPORT CLERK
           Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Bingham.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           When I run my card, the system
           automatically prompts the desk
           clerk to greet me with this exact
           statement.
                         
          We see it again...
                         
                          AIRPORT CLERK
           Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Bingham.
                         
          Ryan nods back to the clerk.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Had my status simply been gold or
           God-forbid, silver. I might have
           gotten a hello or a smile... Maybe.
                         
          Ryan continues to hit buttons, swiftly checking in.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Loyalty is earned and rewarded with
           these small touches. It's these kinds
           of systemized friendly touches that
           keep my world in orbit.
                         
          A ticket begins printing. Ryan snaps it up.
                         
                         
          INT. SECURITY - PHOENIX SKY HARBOR INTL AIRPORT - SAME
                         
          Ryan steps up and observes his line choices. He finds a few
          Asian businessmen and hops in behind them.
                         
                         
           JUMP CUT TO:
           8.
                         
                         
          RYAN MOVING THROUGH THE SECURITY SCREENING
                         
          It's a beautiful choreographed ballet of a bag handle
          collapsing, shoes coming off, a laptop going in a separate
          tray, wallet and watch sliding into a shoe, a boarding card
          sliding into a back pocket... both hands always moving,
          performing separate actions... It really is gorgeous.
                         
                         
          INT. AMERICAN ADMIRALS CLUB - SAME
                         
          Ryan enters and presents his ADMIRALS CLUB CARD. It has a
          hologram. The ADMIRALS CLUB HOSTESS immediately smiles.
                         
           ADMIRALS CLUB HOSTESS
           Welcome back, Mr. Bingham.
                         
          Ryan walks past a stack of newspapers on the way to the
          buffet, the whole time framed by an enormous window
          overlooking the tarmac.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           All the things you probably hate
           about travelling - The recycled air.
           The artificial lighting. The digital
           juice dispensers and mini pizzas
           stacked to their heat lamps are the
           warm reminders that I am home.
                         
          With that comment, Ryan slides into a leather club seat. A
          DIGITAL DISPLAY reads: "Thank You For Your Loyalty".
                         
          He opens his briefcase and pulls out his ITINERARY. He scans
          it. We see a string of flights, car rentals, and stays at
          Hitons. Then, something makes him frown. He pulls out his
          cell phone and dials...
                         
                         INTERCUT WITH:
                         
                         
          INT. ASSISTANT'S DESK, CTC - DAY
                         
          Ryan's assistant, Kevin, is not happy to be there.
                         
                          KEVIN
           Ryan Bingham's office.
                         
                          RYAN
           You have me in a Dodge Stratus in
           Kansas City.
                         
                          KEVIN
           They are completely out of all full
           sized sedans...
           9.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
                          (INTERRUPTS)
           Did you?...
                         
                          KEVIN
           (not the first time)
           Yes, I reminded them of your
           remarkable #1 Gold Club status and
           years in the program. They are moving
           mountains to see you in a Sebring.
                         
                          RYAN
           Fair enough. Any other messages?
                         
                          KEVIN
           Your sister Kara called. Needs to
           speak urgently about your sister's
           wedding. I told her you were midair
           and not even I knew your final
           destination.
                         
                          RYAN
           Well done.
                         
                          KEVIN
           And you got an invitation to speak
           at GoalQuest in Vegas.
                         
          Ryan pauses.
                         
                          RYAN
           GoalQuest twenty?
                         
                          FLASH IMAGE:
                         
                         
          INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT
                         
          We push in on an EASEL with a SIGN that features RYAN'S
          HEADSHOT. Underneath his name, it reads: "What's In Your
          Backpack?"
                         
                         
          INT. SMALL CONFERENCE ROOM, HOTEL - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan delivers his speech with a smile.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Every once in a while I do speaking
           engagements. Motivational kind of
           stuff. But GoalQuest... We're
           talking major Tony Robbins shit.
           10.
                         
                         
          INT. ADMIRALS CLUB - SAME
                         
          Kevin examines the invitation emblazoned with a big "XX".
                         
                          KEVIN
           It's got a hologram. They're calling
           it Dos Equis. That's some pretty
           major Tony Robbins shit there.
                         
                          RYAN
           Talk about burying the lead.
                          (EXHALES)
           I'll check in when...
                         
                          KEVIN
           Hold on, I have Craig Gregory for
           you...
                         
                          RYAN
           I... ah, fuck...
                         
                          INTERCUT WITH:
                         
                         
          INT. CRAIG GREGORY'S OFFICE, CTC - DAY
                         
          Four words - Store-bought sports memorabilia.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           How's the road warrior?
                         
                          RYAN
           Twenty minutes from boarding into a
           world of bliss.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Great numbers out of Phoenix. You
           know Big Auto is going to drop
           another 10K this month.
                         
                          RYAN
           No kidding?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Yeah, Christmas came early. Wish I
           could have you in five places at
           once. I need you back in Omaha by
           the end of the week.
                         
                          RYAN
           I thought you needed me everywhere.
           11.
                         
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           We got something big - Game
           changer.
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't know why you ever bring me
           in. Wherever I go, the money
           follows. Let me plant seeds,
           they'll grow to Oaks.
                         
          Craig checks out a CUTE INTERN.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I'm thinking of planting seeds
           right now.
                         
                          RYAN
           What are we talking about here?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           You'll see.
                          (CHANGES DIRECTIONS)
           Today, I took my first crap in two
           weeks. Hallelujah.
                         
                          RYAN
           That's me, hanging up on you.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Good. I love that sound.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - DAY
                         
          Ryan sits one row behind the bulkhead. Left side. Aisle.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           To know me is to fly with me. I'm the
           aisle, you're the window - trapped.
                         
          Reveal - A man next to Ryan. Some BUSINESSMAN between cities.
          He talks, drink in hand, but we don't hear him.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           We start chatting, impersonally at
           first. Our moderate politics, our
           sinking opinions on the American
           service industry.
           12.
                         
                         
          BUSINESSMAN AND RYAN MAKING SUGGESTIONS
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           You recommend a hotel in Tulsa. I
           tip you off to a rib joint in Fort
           Worth.
                         
          BUSINESSMAN TELLS A JOKE. HIS HANDS GESTURE.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           You tell me your best joke. I've
           heard it before, but listen anyway.
                         
          Ryan laughs out loud.
                         
          TURBULENCE. THE BUSINESSMAN TIGHTENS HIS SEAT BELT.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Nothing like turbulence to cement a
           bond. Soon you're telling me about
           family.
                         
          THE MAN SPEAKS ABOUT SOMETHING THAT OBVIOUSLY DISTURBS HIM.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Your wife just went back to work
           but you can't intervene because you
           sure could use the extra paycheck
           and besides, last June she read
           some book and woke up one morning a
           feminist.
                         
          THE MAN LEANS BACK, ARMS CROSSED, WITH A FAR OFF LOOK.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           And that if your windfall ever came
           through, you'd quit and spend the
           rest of your days restoring vintage
           speedboats.
           (saying it with him)
           The water. That's where you belong.
                         
                         
          EXT. TARMAC, DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Their PLANE LANDS.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - DAY
                         
          As the plane begins to taxi to the gate, both Ryan and the
          Businessman pull out their cards.
           13.
                         
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           We exchange cards and slot them next
           to countless others.
                         
          The dull bell "dings" to let us know it's safe to stand. Ryan
          and the Businessman get up and open the overheads.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Fast friends aren't my only
           friends, but my best friends.
                         
                         
          INT. CONCOURSE, DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan and the Businessman walk next to each, now completely
          ignoring each other as if they never shared a word.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Sad? Not really. We're a busy bunch.
           I'm peaceful. I'm in my element here.
           I suppose I'm a sort of mutation, a
           new species. I live between the
           margins of my itineraries.
                         
          Ryan and the Businessman reach a point that separates -
          CONNECTING FLIGHTS go left / LONG TERM PARKING goes right.
                         
          They share an awkward smile with a nod, then head in their
          separate directions.
                         
                         
          INT. BROOKS BROTHERS, DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan is checking out TIES when his cell phone rings. He
          checks the I.D.- UNAVAILABLE. He weighs it for a second.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (PICKS UP)
           Hello?
                         
           KARA (O.C.)
           Hi Ryan.
                         
          Ryan mouths a silent "fuck".
                         
                          INTERCUT WITH:
                         
                         
          INT. KARA'S KITCHEN - NIGHT
                         
          Kara is Ryan's sister. Her home overflows with books, photos,
          family collectables, and kid's artwork.
           14.
                         
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Every family has one person who is
           the glue. The one who keeps the
           genealogy in check. That's my
           sister Kara - The glue.
                         
          It just so happens that Kara is GLUING her daughter's school
          project mobile together.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey Kara.
                         
                          KARA
           How are you holding up?
                         
                          RYAN
           Just fine. You? The kids?
                         
                          KARA
                          (LYING)
           Missy's outstanding. Matthew made
           varsity. How's the road?
                         
          Ryan exits the store and we realize we are in...
                         
                         
          INT. CONCOURSE, DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan hops onto a PEOPLE MOVER.
                         
                          RYAN
           Couldn't be better.
                         
                          KARA
           That's good. So, Ryan?
                         
                          RYAN
                          (CAUTIOUS)
           Yeah?
                         
                          KARA
           I didn't even want to have to ask you
           for this, because I know how you are
           about... doing things for others...
                         
          Ryan rolls his eyes.
                         
                          KARA (CONT'D)
           But we're coming in on three weeks
           to go for Julie's wedding and
           there's something we could really
           use your help on.
           15.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
          Yeah.
                         
                          KARA
          We've been sending people these kits
          so they can print out photos of Julie
          and Jim on cardboard, and take photos
          of them in interesting places kind of
          like that gnome in the French movie.
                         
                          RYAN
          Why?
                         
                          KARA
                          (SIGHS)
          Because it's Julie's wedding... and she
          thinks it's fun. Does it matter why?
                         
                          RYAN
          How is Julie?
                         
                          KARA
          Would you call her? She thinks
          you've turned to butter -
          Disappeared. You're awfully
          isolated, the way you live.
                         
                          RYAN
          Isolated? I'm surrounded.
                         
                          KARA
          Your assistant told me you're going
          to be in Vegas.
                         
                          RYAN
          Did he?
                         
                          KARA
          Can you get a photo of the cut-out
          in front of the Luxor Pyramid?
                         
                          RYAN
          That place is a shit hole. No one
          stays there.
                         
                          KARA
          Jesus, Ryan, I'm not asking you to check
          in. Can you just take a stupid photo?
                         
                          RYAN
          I'm going to try my best.
                         
                          KARA
          Well, thank you for trying your best.
           16.
                         
                         
          INT. BAR LOUNGE - HOUSTON HILTON - EVENING
                         
          Ryan sits at one of the couch & table set-ups. He's going
          over some paperwork. He notices an attractive professionally
          dressed woman, ALEX, sifting through her purse. She sets a
          pair of car keys with a MAESTRO TAG on the table.
                         
                          RYAN
           You're satisfied with Maestro?
                         
                          ALEX
           Yeah, I am.
                         
                          RYAN
           They're stingy with their miles. I
           like Hertz.
                         
                          ALEX
           Hertz keeps its vehicles too long.
           If a car's over twenty-thousand
           miles, I won't drive it.
                         
          Ryan is intrigued.
                         
                          RYAN
           Maestro doesn't instant check out.
           I like to park and go.
                         
                          ALEX
           Hertz doesn't guarantee Navigation.
                         
                          RYAN
           Funny, you don't seem like a girl
           who needs directions.
                         
                          ALEX
           I hate asking for directions.
           That's why I get a Nav.
                         
                          RYAN
           The new outfit, Colonial, isn't bad.
                         
                          ALEX
           Is that a joke?
                         
          After a beat.
                         
                          RYAN
           Yes.
                         
                          ALEX
           Their kiosk placement is a joke.
           17.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Never have available upgrades.
                         
                          ALEX
                          (PASSIONATE)
           It's basically a fleet of shit
           boxes - Don't know how they're
           still in business.
                         
                          RYAN
           (I love you)
           I'm Ryan.
                         
                          ALEX
           Alex.
                         
                          RYAN
           So are you going to join me?
                         
          She breaks into a smile.
                         
           JUMP CUT TO:
                         
                         
          INT. BAR LOUNGE - HOUSTON HILTON - LATER THAT EVENING
                         
          Empty glasses litter the table. Ryan and Alex have taken over
          a couch and have the contents of their wallets spread out -
          All MEMBERSHIP CARDS.
                         
                          RYAN
           (grabs one of Alex's cards)
           Maplewood Card? How dare you bring
           that into this palace.
                         
                          ALEX
           Hilton offers equal value and
           better food - But the Maplewood
           gives out warm cookies at check in.
                         
                          RYAN
           They got you with the cookies?
                         
                          ALEX
           I'm a sucker for simulated
           hospitality.
                         
                          RYAN
           There's actually an industry term
           for that. It's a mixture of faux
           and homey. It's faumey.
                         
          Alex grabs Ryan's AMERICAN CONCIERGE KEY CARD.
           18.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
          Oh my God. I've heard about these,
          but never seen one in person. Is
          this a...?
                         
                          RYAN
          Concierge Key. Yeah.
                         
                          ALEX
          I love the weight.
                         
                          RYAN
          Graphite. I was pretty excited the
          day that puppy came in.
                         
                          ALEX
          I'll say. I put up pretty
          pedestrian numbers. Sixty thou a
          year, domestic.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (TRYING)
          That's not bad.
                         
                          ALEX
          Don't patronize me. What's your total?
                         
                          RYAN
          That's a personal question.
                         
                          ALEX
          Oh please...
                         
                          RYAN
                          (PLAYFUL)
          I hardly know you.
                         
                          ALEX
          Show some hubris. Impress me.
                          (SUGGESTIVE)
          I bet it's huge.
                         
                          RYAN
          You have no idea.
                         
                          ALEX
          Come on...
           (holds her hands eight
                          INCHES APART)
          Is it this big?
           (extends a few inches)
          ... this big?
           19.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Let's just say I've got a number in
           mind and I haven't hit it yet.
                         
          Alex smiles, fair enough. Admires the CONCIERGE KEY CARD.
                         
                          ALEX
           This is pretty fucking sexy.
                         
                          RYAN
           I hope it doesn't cheapen our
           relationship.
                         
                          ALEX
           We're two people who get turned on
           by elite status. We may have to
           settle for cheap.
                         
                          RYAN
           There's nothing cheap about
           loyalty.
                         
          Alex looks into Ryan's eyes and gives him unspoken permission
          to take her right there and then.
                         
                         
          INT. HOTEL HALLWAY - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan and Alex walk down a curved corridor, suppressing
          laughter. There's no adult way to go back to somebody's
          hotel room. Once at the door, Ryan tries his KEY CARD, but
          it doesn't work.
                         
          He reaches into his pocket and comes up with five other key
          cards from recent trips.
                         
                          RYAN
           I really have to start throwing
           these out.
                         
          He tries a couple.
                         
                          ALEX
           We can always use that room with
           the ice machine.
                         
          Ryan chuckles. He finds the right key and opens the door.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S SUITE, HOUSTON HILTON - LATER THAT NIGHT
                         
          Everything is scattered from a marathon Fuck. Ryan and Alex
          are laying on the bed, sprawled out on their backs like
          murder victims.
           20.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Good call on the towel rack.
                         
                          ALEX
           Thanks. I liked how you burritoed
           me in the sofa cushions.
                         
                          RYAN
           I was improvising.
                         
                          ALEX
           Too bad we didn't make it to the
           closet.
                         
                          RYAN
           We got to do this again.
                         
           JUMP CUT TO:
                         
                         
          TWO LAPTOPS SIDE BY SIDE
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm in Newark on the 12th, Madesto
           on the 13th, Oklahoma City on the
           15th.
                         
                          ALEX
           Any Southwest? I'm swinging through
           Albuquerque the week of the 16th?
                         
                          RYAN
           No, but I'll be in Florida by the 20th.
                         
                          ALEX
           Miami?
                         
                          RYAN
           Ft. Lauderdale.
                         
                          ALEX
           That's nothing.
                         
                          RYAN
           Forty minutes.
                         
          They simultaneously type each other into their calendars.
                         
                          ALEX
           I should probably go back to my
           room so I can wake up in my bed.
           21.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           I think that's the lady like thing
           to do.
                         
                         
          INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan drops Alex off at her door. She flips the "do not
          disturb" on her door handle and kisses Ryan good night.
                         
          The door closes. Ryan smiles to himself.
                         
                         
          EXT. HOUSTON HILTON - NEXT MORNING
                         
          Sprinklers doing their job. One's broken.
                         
                         
          EXT. HOUSTON HILTON - MORNING
                         
          Looking through the first floor window, we see Ryan doing
          laps in the pool.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, HOUSTON HILTON - MORNING
                         
          Ryan gets a shoe shine.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, HOUSTON HILTON - DAY
                         
          The CLERK swipes Ryan card.
                         
                         
          EXT. CAR DROP OFF - MAESTRO RENT-A-CAR - DAY
                         
          A CAR RETURN CLERK slides Ryan's card through a device.
                         
                         
          INT. CHECK IN DESK, BUSH INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan SWIPES his FREQUENT FLIER CARD through the automated
          machine.
                         
          A FEMALE DESK ASSISTANT notices the number, looks up at Ryan,
          and has a tiny orgasm right there.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - DAY
                         
          Ryan looks out the OVAL WINDOW to the landscape of Omaha.
           22.
                         
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Last year, I spent three hundred
           twenty two days on the road.
                         
                         
          INT. KISS-N-FLY, EPPLEY AIRFIELD - DAY
                         
          Ryan wheels passed a couple that leaps into each other's arms.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Which means that I had to spend
           forty three miserable days at home.
                         
                         
          EXT. RYAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING, OMAHA - DAY
                         
          Ryan steps up to an upscale building with little character,
          searching for his keys at the bottom of his bag. Finally
          finds them and opens the front door.
                         
                         
          INT. ELEVATOR, RYAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
                         
          Ryan presses his floor, when a NOSEY NEIGHBOR slides in.
                         
                          NOSEY NEIGHBOR
           Ryan?
                         
                          RYAN
           (doesn't know his name)
           Hi...
                         
                          NOSEY NEIGHBOR
           Feels like it's been months, busy man.
           We missed you at our Summer party.
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah, sorry I couldn't be there.
                         
                          NOSEY NEIGHBOR
           We've been trying to get a vote on
           the new landscaping. Can I e-mail you
           the plans...? We'd love to get a
           final tally.
                         
                          RYAN
           It's fine. Really. I'll go with the
           majority.
                         
                          NOSEY NEIGHBOR
           Sometimes I forget that you even
           live here. You could probably save
           money and move into a hotel.
           23.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
                          (DEAD SERIOUS)
           I looked into it, but the IRS
           requires a permanent address for
           employment. Otherwise, they
           classify you as a vagrant.
                         
          Ding! - Ryan gets off at his floor.
                         
                          NOSEY NEIGHBOR
           Oh.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S APARTMENT, OMAHA - DAY
                         
          Ryan walks in and sets his bag down. Reveal - the place is
          empty... Like empty, empty.
                         
          Ryan opens the fridge - Chinese take out. Pizza box. Bottle
          of Vodka. Takes a whiff of something - not good.
                         
                          WOMAN'S VOICE
           Hey neighbor.
                         
          Ryan turns to find Dianne, a pretty woman just shy of forty.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey yourself.
                         
          They hug - It's just intimate enough to know they've violated
          the rules of sleeping with your neighbors.
                         
                          DIANNE
           (hands over a package)
           I signed for this while you were gone.
                         
                          RYAN
           Thanks. Hope it wasn't a bother.
                         
          Ryan opens it and finds the CUT-OUT of his sister Julie and
          her fiance Jim. It's an eighteen inch card stock photo of Jim
          hugging Julie from behind.
                         
                          DIANNE
                          (RE: PHOTO)
           They seem happy.
                         
                          RYAN
           It's my sister. She's getting
           married. Haven't met the guy yet.
                         
                          DIANNE
           Lots of luck.
           24.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           I know, right?
                         
          They share a smile. Then, Dianne goes to leave.
                         
                          DIANNE
           It's good to see you. Feels like a
           while this time.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey, you want to come over tonight?
                         
          Dianne gets a little uncomfortable.
                         
                          DIANNE
           Actually, I kind of started seeing
           somebody.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, that's... that's great.
                         
                          DIANNE
           Yeah, we're having drinks tonight
           if you want to come over.
                         
                          RYAN
           That's okay... I' think I'll settle in.
                         
          Dianne gives a smile/nod and exits. Ryan take another long
          look at the CUT-OUT. He shakes his head.
                         
                         
          EXT. CTC HEADQUARTERS, CTC - MORNING
                         
          A downtown midsize high rise.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
                         
          The company has piled in, standing room only. Assistants and
          interns watch through the windows.
                         
          Craig addresses the group including his own superiors.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Just thrilled to have everyone
           under one roof. Welcome home boys.
                         
          A couple odd looks from road warriors a decade his senior.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           I know there's are lot of
           whispering about why we're all
           here.
                          (MORE)
           25.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           Retailers are down twenty percent.
           Auto industry is in the dump.
           Housing market doesn't have a
           heartbeat. This is our moment. It's
           one of the worst times on record
           for America... and I don't want to
           be standing here two years from
           now, wondering how we missed this
           window of opportunity.
                         
          A strangely encouraged response from the group.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           Now, last Summer we received a
           dynamite young woman by way of
           Cornell. She challenged us with some
           big ideas. My first reaction was, who
           does this kid think she is? But when I
           started to give a listen, I was pretty
           knocked out. So now, with a little
           peek into our future - Natalie Keener.
                         
          Natalie stands up.
                         
                          NATALIE
           If there's one word I want to leave
           you with today, it's this...
                         
          Natalie clicks on her POWER POINT PRESENTATION.
                         
          POWER POINT SLIDE: "GLOCAL"
                         
          Everyone including Ryan attempts to pronounce it.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Glocal.
                         
          POWER POINT SLIDE: "GLOBAL ---> LOCAL"
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Our global must become local.
                         
          POWER POINT SLIDE: A slide shows PEOPLE X 250.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           This company keeps twenty three
           people on the road, at least two
           hundred fifty days a year. It's
           expensive and it's inefficient.
           When I came to Craig three months
           ago with this, he told me, and
           quite astutely - it's only a
           problem if you have a solution.
                          (MORE)
           26.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Well, today I stand before you with
           jus that.
                         
          She turns around and fires up her monitor. Sitting in a video
          conference session is a young man in a suit.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           You all know Ned in reception.
                         
          Various people say hello to Ned.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Today, I'm going to fire Ned.
                          (ASIDE)
           Sorry, Ned. I'm sure H.R. will hire
           you back this afternoon.
                         
          Ned smiles. People chuckle in the conference room. One guy
          jokes "Don't count on it."
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Ned could be any employee in any one
           of our client's locations worldwide.
           Strategy packets would be shipped in
           advance. Ned would be given a seat
           and find one of our transition
           specialists waiting for him.
                         
          Natalie turns to the monitor and proceeds to fire Ned. It is
          a pretty dry process and lacks Ryan's charm.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Mr. Laskin, the reason we're having
           this conversation today is your
           position is no longer available.
                         
                          NED
           (from a script)
           I don't understand. I'm fired?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Hearing the words "You've been let
           go" is never easy. Change is always
           scary. But consider the following -
           (using Ryan's line)
           Anybody who ever built an empire,
           or changed the world, sat where you
           are now. And it's because they sat
           there that they were able to do it.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (QUIETLY)
           That's my fucking line.
           27.
                         
                         
                          NED
           Well, what happens now?
                         
                          NATALIE
           This is the first step of a process
           that will end with you in a new job
           that fulfills you.
                         
                          NED
           Yeah, but, how does it work?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I want you to take that packet in
           front of you.
                         
          Ned picks up the packet.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Review it. All the answers you're
           looking for are inside. Start
           filling out the necessary
           information and before you know it,
           you'll be on your way to new
           opportunities.
                         
          Ned starts to peruse the packet with fake interest.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Now Ned, I'm going to need you to
           go back to your desk and start
           putting together your things. As a
           favor to me, I'd appreciate it if
           you didn't spread the news just
           yet. Panic doesn't help anybody.
                         
                          NED
           I understand.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Have a good day, Mr. Laskin and
           good luck with your future.
                         
                          NED
           Thank you.
                         
          Ned gets up and goes to leave.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Give it up for Ned.
                         
          People clap and tease him a little.
           28.
                         
                         
          POWER POINT: An animation of one monitor becoming multiple
          monitors, all tied into a central switch board in the middle
          of a map of the country.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           You can start the morning in
           Boston, stop in Dallas over lunch
           and finish the day in San
           Francisco. All for the price of a
           T1 line. Our inflated travel budget
           is eviscerated by eighty-five
           percent... And most importantly to
           you guys on the road... No more
           Christmases in a hotel in Tulsa...
           No more hours lost to weather
           delays... You get to come home.
                         
          Ryan is in a state of silent panic.
                         
                         
          INT. CRAIG GREGORY'S OFFICE, CTC - MOMENTS LATER
                         
          Ryan enters and stops short.
                         
                          RYAN
           Tell me you're not taking this
           seriously.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Yeah, that's why we brought the
           entire company in from the road -
           Because we're not taking this
           seriously.
                         
                          RYAN
           It doesn't make any sense. It's...
                          (SEARCHING)
           ... completely impersonal.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Who am I even talking to?
                         
                          RYAN
           There's a methodology to what I do.
           A reason why it works.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Ryan, Coke and IBM have been doing
           it for years. Just like anything,
           there's a few months of transition,
           but everyone settles in.
                         
                          RYAN
           Who are you taking off the road?
           29.
                         
                         
          A beat.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           You don't get it. You're grounded, Ryan.
           Everyone is. It's done.
                         
                          RYAN
           Okay, what we do here is brutal and
           leaves people devastated, but there's
           a dignity to the way I do it.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Stabbing people in the chest
           instead of the back?
                         
          Ryan rolls his eyes.
                         
          Craig's door opens and Natalie pops her head in.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You wanted to see me?
                         
          Craig goes to wave her off.
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah, why don't you come in.
                         
          Natalie is confused but takes the chair next to Ryan.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Great job in there, Nat.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Thank you. How's everyone taking it?
                         
          Natalie and Ryan hold a look for a second.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (TO NATALIE)
           Look, I appreciate your... zeal. And
           you have some good ideas. But you
           know nothing of the realities of my
           job. Sure, you can set up an iChat...
           but you don't know how people think.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Actually, I minored in psychology.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Nice.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (TO NATALIE)
           Okay kiddo, fire me.
           30.
                         
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Ryan, stop it.
                         
                          RYAN
           She's going to be doing this on a
           regular basis. You don't want to
           know if she can fire somebody?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           She just fired Ned.
                         
                          RYAN
           My dog could fire Ned.
                          (TO NATALIE)
           Fire me.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Ryan.
                         
                          NATALIE
           It's okay, I got this.
                         
          Ryan and Natalie turn to face each other.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Mr. Bingham, I regret to inform you
           that your position is no longer
           available.
                         
                          RYAN
           Who the hell are you?
                         
                          NATALIE
           My name is Miss Keener and I'm here
           today to discuss your future.
                         
                          RYAN
           My future? I don't know you. The
           only person who can fire me is
           Craig Gregory.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Mr. Gregory hired me to handle this
           for him.
                         
                          RYAN
           Handle what? Handle me? Mr. Gregory
           hired me and he's the only one who can
           fire me. I'm going to talk to him.
                         
          Ryan gets up. Natalie gets up too.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Mr. Bingham...
           31.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           You can't follow me... You're on a
           computer screen. Remember?
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (FRUSTRATED)
           Ryan...
                         
          Ryan sits back down.
                         
                          RYAN
           Try again. Fire me.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I just did.
                         
                          RYAN
           Actually, you didn't. Now, fire me.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Stop it, Ryan.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (IGNORES CRAIG)
           Mr. Bingham, I'm here today to
           inform you that your position is no
           longer available.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm fired?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Yes, you're fired.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (ASIDE)
           Never say fired.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You've been let go.
                         
                          RYAN
           Why?
                         
                          NATALIE
           (breaks the moment)
           This is a mythical situation. How
           could I possibly know why?
                         
                          RYAN
           You never know why. Why doesn't
           matter.
           32.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           (back on track)
           It's important not to focus on the
           "why" and rather to spend your
           energy thinking about your future.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm going to spend my energy on
           suing you if you don't give me a
           reason that you're firing me.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Mr. Bingham, the reason is not
           important.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, so you're firing me without
           grounds.
                          (TO CRAIG)
           Now, I really have a lawsuit.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Ryan, I think we know what you're
           trying to say...
                         
                          NATALIE
           (still in character)
           Don't take this personally, Mr.
           Bingham.
                         
          Ryan stops.
                         
                          RYAN
           Personally?
           (quiet and calm)
           This is the most personal situation
           you will ever enter. So before you
           try to revolutionize my business,
           I'd like to know that you actually
           know my business.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S OFFICE, CTC - DAY
                         
          Ryan is staring out his window watching a plane take flight.
                         
          Craig enters.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Hell-of-a-way to welcome her to the
           team.
           33.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Am I the only one who sees that by
           automating our own business, we're
           making ourselves irrelevant.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           (frankly...)
           No... We're making you irrelevant.
                         
          Ryan shoots a look.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           Hey, don't blame me. Blame fuel
           costs. Blame insurance premiums.
           Blame technology.
                          (A BEAT)
           Watch yourself, Ryan. You're too
           young to be a dinosaur...
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm not... I'm not a dinosaur.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I want you to show her the ropes.
                         
                          RYAN
           What do I know about what happens
           around here? Have Ferguson do it.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I'm not talking about here.
                         
          A beat as Ryan registers what Craig means: The Road.
                         
                          RYAN
           No.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Hey, you seem pretty confident that this
           girl doesn't know what she's doing...
                         
                          RYAN
           Excuse me. I just don't think a
           MySpace page qualifies you to
           rewire an entire company.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Great. Well, here's your chance.
           Show her the magic. Take her
           through the paces.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm not a fucking tour guide.
           34.
                         
                         
          Craig cups one of his hands and places a FOLDED POST-IT
          between his fingers like a ship's sail.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           (re: his hand)
           This is the boat.
                         
          Craig raises his other finger far away.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           (re: his finger)
           This is you.
                         
          A beat of Ryan taking in this ridiculous illustration.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           Do you want to be in the boat?
                         
                          RYAN
           Yes. Alone.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Ryan, we're ringing the bell.
           Rounding everybody up. If you want
           to stay out there a little longer,
           you can. But you're not going to be
           on your own.
           (begins to leave)
           Let me know.
                         
          Ryan churns.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S APARTMENT - DAY
                         
          Ryan is packing his ROLL-AWAY BAG. It is practiced and
          systematic. He's just about finished, when he notices the CUT-
          OUT of his sister's engagement photo.
                         
          He tries placing it in the open bag, but it is immediately
          clear that the photo is two inches to long. He tries putting
          it on an angle, but that doesn't help.
                         
                          RYAN
           Huh.
                         
          Ryan centers the cut-out again and tries to ZIP around it,
          but he can't get the zipper around the HEADS of the photo.
          For a moment, it almost seems like he's assaulting their tiny
          head with the zipper handle. Doesn't help.
                         
          A moment of silent frustration.
                         
                          CUT TO:
           35.
                         
                         
                         THE ROLL-AWAY
                         
          Being pulled through an airport. The little heads of Ryan's
          sister and her fiance are poking out the top of the bag. The
          two zippers have been closed on either side of them as though
          they were tiny passengers peeking out the sunroof.
                         
                         
          INT. EPPLEY AIRFIELD, OMAHA - MORNING
                         
          Ryan cuts right through the crowd, wheeling his carry-on
          towards the automatic check-in machines.
                         
          Ryan stops when he notices NATALIE saying goodbye to her
          BOYFRIEND - a kind of Hollister looking guy in his mid-
          twenties. He's not thrilled by the public affection. After a
          beat, they break and he exits.
                         
          Natalie sees Ryan and starts dragging her LARGE SUITCASE
          towards him. The SCRAPING against the terrazzo sends a shiver
          up Ryan's spine.
                         
          She arrives and sets the heavy bag down with a CLUNK. Ryan
          stares at her travel case for a beat then up to her.
                         
                          NATALIE
           What?
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          A ROW OF ROLL AWAY BAGS
                         
                         
          INT. LUGGAGE STORE, EPPLEY AIRFIELD - MORNING
                         
          Ryan pulls one out and tests the action.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I really like my luggage.
                         
                          RYAN
           That's exactly what it is. Luggage.
           (off of Natalie's look)
           You know how much time you lose by
           checking in?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I don't know, maybe five minutes
           waiting for...
           36.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Thirty five minutes per flight. I
           travel two hundred seventy days a
           year. That makes one hundred fifty
           seven hours... That's Seven Days.
           (points to her luggage)
           You ready to throw away a whole
           week on that?
                         
                         
          INT. TERMINAL FLOOR, EPPLEY AIRFIELD - MORNING
                         
          Natalie is attempting to repack her new bag in the middle of
          the airport. Ryan helps by throwing a couple things out.
                         
                         
          INT. SECURITY, EPPLEY AIRFIELD- MORNING
                         
          Ryan spots various "bad lines", then sees a group of Asians.
                         
                          RYAN
           Bingo. Asians.
                         
          Ryan starts walking.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You can't be serious.
                         
          As they pass the first line - A FAMILY OF SIX.
                         
                          RYAN
           Never get behind people travelling
           with infants. I've never seen a
           stroller collapse in less than
           twenty minutes.
                         
          Second Line - AN ELDERLY COUPLE
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Old people are worse. Their bodies
           are littered with hidden metal and
           they never seem to appreciate how
           little time they have left on Earth.
                         
          Third Line - A COUPLE MIDDLE EASTERN GUYS.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Five words. Randomly selected for
           additional screening.
                         
          They enter the fourth line behind the Asians.
           37.
                         
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Asians. They're light packers,
           treasure efficiency, and have a thing
           for slip-on shoes. God love'em.
                         
                          NATALIE
           That's racist.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm like my mother. I stereotype.
           It's faster.
                         
                         
          INT. SECURITY, EPPLEY AIRFIELD MOMENTS LATER
                         
          Ryan is just fastening his belt, having just gone through
          security, when we hear a beeping go off. Natalie is trying to
          find the metal on her body that has set off the machine. She also
          has forgotten to take her laptop out of her bag. It's a mess.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - MID FLIGHT
                         
          Ryan is sketching a theoretical book cover for "The
          Backback". Natalie is working on an Excel Document on her
          laptop - She's a loud tapper... Hitting the keys with violent
          strokes. It draws Ryan's attention and a raised eyebrow.
                         
                          RYAN
           Are you upset at your laptop?
                         
                          NATALIE
           No. Why?
                         
                          RYAN
           Fats Domino had a lighter touch.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I type with purpose.
                         
                          RYAN
           What are you working on so
           furiously?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I'm building a work flow of firing
           techniques. Questions & responses.
           Actions & reactions. A script that
           works kind of like a tributary,
           taking you through the steps of
           firing someone.
                         
                          RYAN
           Who is it for?
           38.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           Theoretically, you could put it in
           the hands of anybody and they could
           be downsizing immediately. All they
           have to do is follow the steps.
                         
                          RYAN
           Natalie, what is it, you think we
           do here?
                         
                          NATALIE
           We prepare the newly unemployed for
           the emotional and physical hurdles
           of job hunting while... Minimizing
           potential legal blowback?
                         
                          RYAN
           That's what we're selling. But it's
           not what we're doing.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Okay, what are we doing?
                         
                          RYAN
           Our job is to make limbo tolerable -
           To ferry wounded souls across the
           river of dread and humiliation to
           the point at which hope's bright
           shore is dimly visible...
                          (FRANKLY)
           And then to stop the boat, shove'em
           in the water, and make them swim
           while we row back to the palace of
           their banishment to present the
           employers with our bills.
                         
                          NATALIE
           That was really impressive. You
           rehearse that?
                         
          Natalie smiles and goes back to her work. Ryan goes to say
          something, but holds back for now.
                         
                         
          INT. MAIN TERMINAL, ST. LOUIS INT'L AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan zips through the wandering types as Natalie tries to
          keep up. Ryan's phone rings. He sees the caller ID. Smiles.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (TO NATALIE)
           I got to grab this. I'll meet you
           at the rental lot.
           39.
                         
                         
          Natalie nods and keeps moving. Ryan picks up.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey, I was hoping I'd hear from you.
                         
                          INTERCUT WITH:
                         
                         
          INT. HOTEL CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
                         
          Alex is on her cell phone as a junior behind her folds a
          portable projector screen.
                         
                          ALEX
           I'm in Hotlanta. I need a rib joint
           recommend bad.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (SMILES)
           Fat Matt's. Bring a bib.
                         
          Ryan turns into an elevator well to talk.
                         
                          ALEX
           You haven't called.
                         
                          RYAN
           You know, I didn't know what was
           appropriate...
                         
          Alex stops. She moves to a quieter place.
                         
                          ALEX
           Ryan, I'm not some waitress you
           banged in a snow storm. The word
           "Appropriate" has no place in our
           collective vocabulary. I'm the woman
           you don't have to worry about.
                         
                          RYAN
           This sounds like a trick.
                         
                          ALEX
           Next time you're worried about
           manners - Don't. If you want to
           call - Call. Just think of me as
           yourself... only with a vagina.
                         
          Ryan lights up... This woman fucking rocks. Then recovers.
                         
                          RYAN
           When am I going to see you?
           40.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
           I'm out of Hartsfield, into IAD,
           then a connection at ORD into SDF.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (COMPASSIONATE)
           Oh... sorry.
                         
                          ALEX
           Tell me about it.
                         
                          RYAN
           How long is your layover in O'Hare?
           They've got multiples into SDF...
           Think you could push?
                         
                          ALEX
                          (SMILES)
           I can push.
                         
          Joy.
                         
                         
          INT. ELEVATOR, BOTTLING COMPANY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie ride, briefcases in hand. Natalie is swaying
          back and forth. Ryan notices. Is she nervous? Excited?
                         
          Ding - The elevator door opens.
                         
                         
          INT. RECEPTION, BOTTLING COMPANY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie enter the door to find a reception desk on
          an empty floor. Scattered telephones sit on the ground where
          desks used to be. A few desks in one corner are still manned.
                         
          Natalie tries not to show: It's all becoming very real.
                         
                          RYAN
           (to desk girl)
           Ryan Bingham, from CTC.
                         
          The desk girl looks up from her work. She knows who they are.
                         
                         
          INT. CUBICLE CITY, BOTTLING COMPANY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie pass rows of cubicles. Heads begin to pop up
          to see their arrival. Natalie accidentally makes eye contact
          with one guy, then quickly shifts her gaze forward.
           41.
                         
                         
          INT. WINDOWLESS CONFERENCE ROOM, BOTTLING COMPANY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie sit next to each other at a polyurethane
          conference table.
                         
                          RYAN
           All you have to do today is watch
           and listen. When I talk about the
           strategy packet. You hand them one
           of these...
                         
          Ryan points to a stack of packets.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You ever find it strange that
           termination comes with a packet.
                         
                          RYAN
           Everything important in life comes
           with a packet.
                         
                         
          MONTAGE OF MORE REAL PEOPLE REACTING TO BEING FIRED
                         
          A SERIES OF REAL PEOPLE sit down across from Ryan and Natalie
                         
                          RYAN
           Thank you for coming by. As you're
           probably well aware, this is a
           tough economic climate and your
           company is not immune.
                         
          REAL PEOPLE tighten up as they begin to catch on.
                         
                          RYAN
           While I wish I was here with better
           news, the reason you and I are
           meeting is this is your final week
           of employment here.
                         
          REAL PEOPLE blame all sorts of people and situations that
          they personally hold responsible.
                         
                          RYAN
           This is not a time to look for
           blame. Your position simply no
           longer exists.
                         
          REAL PEOPLE respond further. Some are enraged. Some are
          polite. One is even grateful.
                         
                          RYAN
           I understand why you are saying
           these things.
                          (MORE)
           42.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           It's perfectly natural to feel
           this way. I want you to take the
           next week to explore this strategy
           packet...
                         
          Ryan nods to Natalie who we now see begrudgingly HANDING
          PACKETS to all of the REAL PEOPLE we've already met.
                         
                          RYAN
           Fill out the skill set work
           sheet... Use the hopes and dreams
           diagram... And the tree of
           aspirations.
                         
          We SEE the "TREE OF ASPIRATIONS" sheet.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (WITH EMPHASIS)
           The answers are all in there.
                         
          We see more packets getting handed out as Ryan repeats...
                         
                          RYAN
           The answers are all in there.
                          (ANOTHER PERSON)
           The answers...
                          (ANOTHER PERSON)
           The answers...
                          (ANOTHER PERSON)
           ... are-all-in-there.
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          BOB (AN ACTOR) PRESENTING A PHOTO OF HIS CHILDREN
                         
                          BOB
           And what do you suggest I tell
           them?
                         
          BOB. Dry red eyes from tears of rage stare down the lens.
                         
          Natalie can't hold back any longer.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (A SUGGESTION)
           Perhaps you're underestimating the
           positive effect your career transition
           may have on your children.
                         
          Ryan looks at Natalie like she's out of her mind.
                         
                          BOB
           Positive effect?
           43.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           Well, tests have shown that
           children under moderate trauma have
           a tendency to apply themselves
           academically as a method of coping.
                         
                          BOB
           Go fuck yourself. That's what my
           kids'll think.
                         
          Natalie shrinks. Ryan immediately covers.
                         
                          RYAN
           Your children's admiration is
           important to you?
                         
                          BOB
           Yeah. It was.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (FRANKLY)
           Well, I doubt they ever admired
           you, Bob.
                         
          Bob looks up shocked and pissed.
                         
                          BOB
           Hey asshole, aren't you here to
           console me?
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm not a shrink, Bob. I'm a wake
           up call. You know why kids love
           athletes?
                         
                          BOB
           Because they screw lingerie models.
                         
                          RYAN
           No, that's why we love athletes.
           Kids love them because they follow
           their dreams.
                         
                          BOB
           Yeah, well I can't dunk.
                         
                          RYAN
           But you can cook.
                         
          Natalie looks to Ryan - Where is he going with this?
                         
                          BOB
           What are you talking about?
           44.
                         
                         
          Ryan picks up Bob's resume.
                         
                          RYAN
           Your resume says you minored in
           French Culinary Arts. Most students
           work the frier at KFC. You bussed
           tables at Il Picatorre to support
           yourself. Then you got out of
           college and started working here.
           (looks up at Bob)
           How much did they first pay you to
           give up on your dreams?
                         
                          BOB
                          (FLAT)
           Twenty seven thousand a year.
                         
                          RYAN
           At what point were you going to
           stop and go back to what made you
           happy?
                         
          Bob simply shrugs.
                         
                          RYAN
           Do you believe in fate, Bob?
                         
                          BOB
           Fate?
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah. You know, the mysterious ways
           in which we wind up doing the
           things we were meant to do.
                         
                          BOB
                          (OFFERING)
           I met my wife at a gas station.
                         
                          RYAN
           Exactly. Well, I think fate is
           telling you to do something, Bob.
                         
          Bob looks up and meets eyes with Ryan.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           I see guys who work for the same
           company their entire lives. Clock
           in. Clock out. Never a moment of
           happiness.
           (pauses for effect)
           Not everyone gets this kind of
           opportunity.
                          (MORE)
           45.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           The chance for rebirth. If not for
           yourself... Do it for your kids.
                         
          Bob's eyes begin to water again. He's a changed man.
                         
          Ryan shoots Natalie a look - Hand over the packet.
                         
          Natalie jumps to attention and hands Bob a packet.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, ST. LOUIS HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          There's a BUSINESS WOMAN waiting in the regular line. Ryan
          walks right past her and gets into the ELITE LINE. They are
          now both first in their respective lines for the counter.
                         
          The woman looks over at Ryan and sighs. Natalie holds back,
          confused by Ryan's actions and wanting to avoid confrontation.
                         
          The DESK CLERK frees up and gestures for Ryan to step
          forward. Ryan begins wheeling his bag forward. Meanwhile, the
          woman lifts her hand in outrage.
                         
                          BUSINESS WOMAN
           I've been waiting ten minutes. He just
           waltzes in and gets to cut in line.
                         
                          DESK CLERK
           We reserve priority assistance for
           our Hilton Honors members.
                         
          Ryan grabs a BROCHURE for ELITE MEMBERSHIP off the desk and
          hands it to the business woman.
                         
                          RYAN
           You should look into it - The
           promotions are great...
                         
          The woman bats it out of Ryan's hand onto the floor.
                         
                          BUSINESS WOMAN
           Fuck off.
                         
          Ryan looks back at the desk clerk and smiles. The desk clerk
          swipes his card.
                         
          Ryan's DIGITAL NUMBER bumps up another thousand points.
                         
                         
          INT. PUBLIC BATHROOM, ST. LOUIS HILTON - EVENING
                         
          Natalie is washing her hands, when she stops to look at
          herself in the mirror.
           46.
                         
                         
          After a beat, she hears someone CRYING in one of the stalls.
          She goes to see if the woman is okay, then stops herself -
          Maybe I fired her.
                         
          She grabs a paper towel, dries off her hands, and leaves.
                         
                         
          INT. RESTAURANT BAR, ST. LOUIS HILTON - EVENING
                         
          Natalie sits back down at the table a little visibly shaken.
                         
                          RYAN
           You okay?
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (COVERS QUICKLY)
           Yeah. Fine.
                         
          Just then, their food arrives... And there's a lot of food.
          Natalie's eyes move back and forth trying to figure out why
          there seems to be three main courses and a bunch of sides.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Hungry, much?
                         
                          RYAN
           Our expense account allots for forty
           dollars each on dinner. I plan on
           grabbing every mile I can.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Okay, you got to fill me in on this mile
           business. What's that all about? Are you
           talking like frequent flier miles?
                         
          Ryan gives Natalie a look - Is she ready for this information?
                         
                          RYAN
           Your really want to know?
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (MOCK SERIOUS)
           I'm dying to know.
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't spend a nickel, if I can help
           it, unless it somehow profits my
           mileage account. I'm not talking
           hotel rooms and rental cars either,
           but internet services, cell phone,
           music downloads, teleflorists. The
           works. I shop them according to the
           miles they pay and I pit them against
           each other for the most value.
           47.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           So, what are you saving up for?
           Hawaii? South of France?
                         
                          RYAN
           No, it's not like that... The miles
           are the goal.
                         
                          NATALIE
           That's it? You're saving to save?
                         
                          RYAN
           Let's just say I've got a number in
           mind and haven't hit it yet.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Wow. Seems a little abstract.
           What's your target?
                         
                          RYAN
           I'd rather not.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (TEASING)
           It's a secret target?
                         
                          RYAN
           It's ten million miles.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Huh. Isn't ten million just a number?
                         
                          RYAN
           Pi is just a number.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I guess we all need a hobby.
                         
          Ryan looks back at Natalie - Hobby?
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Oh hey, I didn't mean to belittle your
           collection. I get it. Sounds cool.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'd be the seventh person to do it.
           More people have walked on the moon.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Do they give you a parade or something?
           48.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Lifetime Exec Platinum status. You
           get to meet the Chief Pilot,
           Maynard Finch. And... They put your
           name on the side of a plane.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Men get such a hard-on from putting
           their name on stuff... You guys
           don't grow up - You just need to
           pee on everything.
                         
                          RYAN
           Now, who's stereotyping?
                         
                          NANCY
           Fear of mortality. It's like Yes,
           you're going to die one day.
                         
                          RYAN
           And why do you suppose that's singular
           to men?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Probably cause you can't have babies.
                         
          Ryan can't help but laugh a little.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           If I had that many miles, I'd just
           show up at the airport, look up at
           one of those big destination
           boards, pick a place and go.
                         
          This idea sinks in for a second with both of them.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S ROOM, ST. LOUIS HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan is laying in bed wearing a Hilton bathrobe. He's
          reviewing his sister's wedding invite when his BLACKBERRY
          BUZZES on the night stand. He reaches over to check it. It's
          a text message:
                         
          Alex: "Can't fall asleep."
                         
          Ryan types back:
                         
          Ryan: "Me too. Just laying here."
                         
                          INTERCUT WITH:
           49.
                         
                         
          INT. ALEX'S HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
                         
          Alex is in a t-shirt, lying in bed. She types away at her
          BLACKBERRY and presses SEND.
                         
          Ryan's BLACKBERRY BUZZES again.
                         
          Alex: "You should rub one out."
                         
                          RYAN
                          (CHUCKLES)
           Thanks for the advice.
                         
          Types back.
                         
          Ryan: "Only fair if you do too."
                         
          BLACKBERRY BUZZES again.
                         
          Alex: "Way ahead of you."
                         
                          RYAN
           Man alive.
                         
          Ryan: "Call me next time so I can listen."
                         
          Alex: ";) Have sweet dreams about me."
                         
          Ryan smiles. He stares at the message for a second, then sets
          the blackberry down and turns off the light.
                         
                         
          EXT. LAMBERT FIELD, ST. LOUIS - DAY
                         
          Natalie is standing with a camera in her hands, giving
          directions.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Left, left, left, left... one more
           inch... and stop.
                         
          Reveal: Ryan is placing the CUT-OUT of Julie and Jim.
                         
          The camera POV makes it look like Julie and Jim are standing
          in front of St. Louis International Airport.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I don't get it.
                         
                          RYAN
           My sister is cooky. She thinks this is
           charming... Like the gnome thing.
           50.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           No, I mean... why would your sister
           want a fake photo in front of the
           St. Louis Airport?
                         
                          RYAN
           She should be so lucky to visit Lambert
           Field. The Wright Brothers flew through
           there...
           (points out the conical
                          MAIN TERMINAL)
           The domed main terminal was the
           first of its kind. A precursor to
           everything from JFK to DeGualle.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (LAME)
           Wow. Pretty sweet.
                         
          Natalie takes the photo.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Why she wants dozens of reminders
           of all the places she hasn't been
           is beyond me.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Well, I'm sure she's going to be
           crushed for having missed this airport.
                         
                          RYAN
           Look - Before Lindbergh could cross
           the Atlantic, he took off from one of
           those runways... Ever wondered why
           they call it the Spirit of St. Louis?
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (QUICKLY)
           No.
                         
          Ryan goes to say something, but Natalie is already gone.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, WICHITA SECURITIES COMPANY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie sit stoically as a YOUNG ASIAN GUY rants
          about why they are idiots to fire him.
                         
           YOUNG ASIAN GUY
           ... And another thing...? You know
           how fucked this place is without me?
           You know how fucked this place is
           without me? Fucked in the ass, man.
                          (MORE)
           51.
                         
           YOUNG ASIAN GUY (cont'd)
           I am the one thing preventing this
           place from being totally fucked in
           the ass.
                         
          The young asian guy snaps up one of the PACKETS and leaves,
          slamming the door behind himself.
                         
                          RYAN
           Sometimes, they just need to vent.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Please, for the love of God, can I
           fire the next one?
                         
          Ryan gives it some thought.
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, WICHITA SECURITIES COMPANY - LATER
                         
          A professional African-American woman wearing a smart suit
          sits down at the conference table.
                         
          Natalie sits up.
                         
                          KAREN
           I'm here to be fired, right?
                         
                          NATALIE
           We're here to talk about your future.
                         
                          KAREN
           You don't have to sugar coat it. I get
           the drill. What are they offering?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Inside the packet you'll find a
           clearly worked out severance package.
                         
                          KAREN
           Give me the bullet points.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Three months pay. Six months
           medical. A full year of placement
           services through our company, CTC.
                         
                          KAREN
           Placement services? How generous.
           52.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           Commonly, it takes one month of
           searching for every ten thousand
           dollars you expect to earn in salary.
                         
                          KAREN
           So I could be looking for a while.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Not necessarily...
                         
                          KAREN
           Oh, don't sweat it. I'm pretty
           confident about my plans.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (SPIRITS LIFTED)
           Oh yeah?
                         
                          KAREN
           Yeah. Can you tell me? Is high tide
           in the morning or the evening?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I don't know. Why?
                         
                          KAREN
           There's this beautiful bridge by my
           apartment. I need to figure out
           what time to jump off it.
                         
          Natalie begins to tremble.
                         
                         
          EXT. WICHITA SECURITIES COMPANY COURTYARD - DAY
                         
          Natalie bursts out the doors and sits on a bench. She's
          freaked out. Ryan is five steps behind her. He puts a hand on
          her shoulder.
                         
                          RYAN
           People say these things all the
           time. It comes with the trade.
                         
                          NATALIE
           They do?
                         
                          RYAN
           Sure. People are always saying
           crazy stuff. They get worked up.
                         
                          NATALIE
           She was so calm.
           53.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           (not quite sure)
           I think that's a good sign.
                         
                          NATALIE
           So they don't actually ever do it?
                         
                          RYAN
           No... it's just talk.
                         
                          NATALIE
           How do you know? Do you follow up?
                         
                          RYAN
           I mean, no, nothing good can come
           of that, but I don't think you
           should worry about it.
                         
          Natalie is clearly still worried.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           This is the job. Taking people at
           their most fragile moment and
           setting them adrift.
                         
                          BEGIN MONTAGE
                         
                         
          A PLANE PULLING BACK ITS GATE AND TAKING OFF
                         
          WHITE COLLAR PEOPLE ARE HANDED PACKETS
                         
          RYAN AND ALEX ENTERING A NEW HOTEL ROOM. THEY'RE BECOMING
          MORE COMFORTABLE WITH EACH OTHER
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - DAY
                         
          Looking out the window at the passing landscape.
                         
          Over the pastures and roads, we see GRAPHIC WHITE LINES AND
          NUMBERS denoting each mile as they click by.
                         
          Ryan tears a page out of AMERICAN WAY MAGAZINE outlining
          their mileage program and hands it to Natalie.
                         
          GARDENER DRIVES A RIDER MOWER ACROSS A TINY STRETCH OF GRASS
                         
                         
          INT. HILTON HOTEL LOBBY - EARLY MORNING
                         
          Ryan turns a corner to find Natalie talking to her computer
          screen with headphones on.
           54.
                         
                         
          She's having an iChat with someone, but we only hear her side
          of the conversation. Ryan decides to listen in for a second.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I'll be back soon. Not really sure
           how long this whole exercise is
           supposed to last. He's fine... It's
           hard for these guys to accept
           change, you know.
           (listens, rolls eyes)
           I... I'm not even going to answer
           that... No, I can't even think of
           him that way... He's old.
                         
          Ryan frowns. Checks a mirror.
                         
          A NEW OFFICE - MORE EMPLOYEES REACT TO BEING LAID OFF
                         
          WE SEE SHOTS OF VARIOUS SLICES OF THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE FROM
          THOUSANDS OF FEET IN THE AIR
                         
                         
          EXT. MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          A 757 touches down on the runway.
                         
          MUSIC BEGINS TO FADE AS THE MONTAGE COMES TO A CLOSE ON...
                         
          RYAN'S HEADSHOT - sitting on an EASLE.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, WICHITA HOTEL - AFTERNOON
                         
          Ryan stands before a similar crowd as the opening of the film.
                         
                          RYAN
           Okay. This is where it gets a
           little difficult, but stay with me.
           You have a new backpack... but this
           time, I want you to fill it with
           people. Start with casual
           acquaintances, people around the
           office, friends of friends and work
           your way to the people you trust
           with your most intimate secrets.
           Now move into family members -
           cousins, aunts, and uncles. Get
           your sisters and your brothers and
           you parents. Get them all in that
           backpack. And finally your husband
           or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend.
           Get them in their too.
           55.
                         
                         
          A titter through the crowd. For the first time, we see
          Natalie near the side, watching.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Don't worry. I'm not going to ask
           you to light it on fire.
                         
          Light laughter.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Feel the weight of that bag. Make
           no mistake, your relationships are
           the heaviest components of your
           life. Feel the straps cutting into
           your shoulders. All those
           negotiations and arguments and
           secrets and compromises.
                         
          Ryan lets the weight sink in.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Now set that bag down.
                         
          You can feel the relief in the room.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           You don't need to carry all that
           weight.
                         
          Noticeable agreement.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Some animals were meant to carry
           each other. To live symbiotically
           over a lifetime. Star-crossed
           lovers. Monogamous swans. We are
           not one of those animals.
                         
          Ryan focuses towards his conclusion.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           The slower we move, the faster we
           die. We are not swans. We're
           sharks.
                         
                         
          INT. ANNEX, WICHITA HOTEL - AFTERNOON
                         
          Ryan has finished his session and is talking to eager
          stragglers. Ryan accepts a business card and elaborates on
          one of his theories.
           56.
                         
                         
          Meanwhile, down the hall, Natalie is finishing a phone call.
          She looks shell shocked. She closes her phone and pockets it
          in silence.
                         
                         
          EXT. TARMAC, MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          AN AMERICAN AIRLINES PLANE touches down.
                         
                         
          EXT. MIAMI BOULEVARD - DAY
                         
          We're following a HILTON SHUTTLE down a street of PALM TREES.
                         
                         
          INT. HILTON AIRPORT SHUTTLE - AFTERNOON
                         
          Natalie and Ryan ride back to the airport. We catch them mid-
          conversation as Natalie drills Ryan on his theory.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Never...?
                         
          Ryan smiles to the few other riders as if apologizing.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           You never want to get married?
           Never want kids?
                         
                          RYAN
           Is that so bizarre?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Yes. Yes it is.
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't see the value.
                         
          Natalie sighs.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Sell it to me.
                         
                          NATALIE
           What?
                         
                          RYAN
           Sell me marriage.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I... Uh... How how about love?
                         
                          RYAN
           Pff...
           57.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           Okay. Stability?
                         
                          RYAN
           How many stabile marriages do you
           know?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Someone to talk to, spend your life
           with?
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm surrounded by people to talk
           to. I doubt that will change.
                         
          The shuttle stops and everyone goes to grab their bags.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, MIAMI HILTON - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie enter, still having the same conversation.
                         
                          NATALIE
           How about just not dying alone?
                         
          Ryan stops to address this.
                         
                          RYAN
           Starting when I was twelve, we
           moved each one of my grandparents
           into a nursing facility. My parents
           went the same way.
                          (A BEAT)
           Make no mistake. We all die alone.
                         
          Ryan turns, thinks of something, then turns back.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
                          (ADDING)
           Those cult members down in San
           Diego with the white sneakers and
           little Dixie cups of Kool-Aid. They
           didn't die alone.
                         
          Natalie looks steamed.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Just saying - There's options.
                         
          Out of nowhere, Natalie starts crying.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (ALMOST SILENT)
           Oh fuck.
           58.
                         
                         
          Natalie is now balling in the middle of the lobby.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Brian left me.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, hey... I...
                         
          Ryan goes to hug Natalie and she simply folds into his arms -
          A mop of tears. Ryan looks around for a place to set her
          down. Instead, he finds...
                         
          ALEX - Who gives a questioning look to the young sobbing girl.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hi. Alex this is Natalie. Natalie,
           this is my... friend, Alex.
                         
                          ALEX
           I should give you both a moment.
                         
          Natalie attempts a recovery. It's not graceful.
                         
                          NATALIE
           No, it's fine. I'm fine. Just
           stupid emotions.
                         
          Natalie gives Alex a firm handshake.
                         
                          ALEX
           Maybe a drink?
                         
          Ryan goes to challenge the idea, when...
                         
                          NATALIE
           Now we're talking.
                         
          Natalie leads the way. Alex and Ryan exchange quick hellos.
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          THE SCREEN OF NATALIE'S CELL PHONE
                         
          TEXT READS: "I Think it's time we c other people"
                         
                         
          INT. BAR LOUNGE - MIAMI HILTON - MOMENTS LATER
                         
          The three share a booth. Natalie is sipping a drink. She seems
          to have settled a little.
           59.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
           He broke up with you over text
           message?
                         
                          RYAN
                          (SOFT DIG)
           That's kind of like firing people
           over the internet.
                         
          Both Natalie and Alex shoot Ryan a look.
                         
                          ALEX
           (re: the ex-boyfriend)
           What a weasely prick.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Yeah, but what does that make me?
           Someone who falls for a prick?
                         
                          ALEX
           We all fall for them. Pricks are
           spontaneous, unpredictable, and
           fun. And then we're surprised when
           they turn out to be pricks.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I followed him to Omaha.
                         
                          RYAN
           You did?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I had a job waiting for me in San
           Fran, when he got an offer from
           ConAgra. He told me we could start
           a life together. So I followed him.
                         
                          RYAN
           To Nebraska.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I look in the mirror and I just see
           compromise... I'm supposed to do
           something.
                         
                          ALEX
           You'll do plenty.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I just can't... I thought I'd be
           engaged by now.
                          (CATCHES HERSELF)
           No offense.
           60.
                         
                         
                          ALEX RYAN
          It's alright. None taken.
                         
                          NATALIE
           When I was sixteen, I thought by
           twenty three, I would be married,
           maybe have a kid... Corner office
           by day, entertaining at night. I
           was supposed to be driving a Grand
           Cherokee by now.
                         
                          ALEX
           Life can underwhelm you that way.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Now I have my sights on twenty
           nine, because thirty is just way
           too... apocalyptic. I mean, where
           did you think you'd be by...
                         
          Natalie catches herself, having no idea how old Alex is.
                         
                          ALEX
           It doesn't work that way.
                         
                          RYAN
           At a certain point, you stop with
           the deadlines.
                         
                          ALEX
           They can be a little counterproductive.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I don't want to say anything
           that's... anti-feminist. I mean, I
           really appreciate everything your
           generation did for me.
                         
                          ALEX
           (my generation?)
           It was our pleasure.
                         
                          RYAN
           Well done.
                         
                          NATALIE
           But sometimes it feels like no
           matter how much success I have, it
           all won't matter until I find the
           right guy.
                         
                          ALEX
           You really thought this guy was the one.
           61.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           Yeah, I guess. I don't know. I
           could have made it work. He just
           really fit the bill.
                         
                          RYAN
           The bill?
                         
                          NATALIE
           My type. You know, white collar.
           College grad. Loves dogs. Likes funny
           movies. Six foot one. Brown hair.
           Kind eyes. Works in finance but is
           Outdoorsy, you know, on the weekends.
           (we think she's done)
           I always imagined he'd have a
           single syllable name like Matt or
           John or... Dave. In a perfect
           world, he drives a Four Runner and
           the only thing he loves more than
           me is his golden lab. Oh... and a
           nice smile.
           (back to Alex and Ryan)
           How about you?
                         
          This catches both Alex and Ryan off guard.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm not sure if...
                         
                          NATALIE
           I meant Alex...
                         
                          RYAN
           Right.
                         
                          ALEX
           Huh, let me think for a sec.
           (mulls it over)
           Well, by the time you're thirty four,
           all the physical requirements are
           pretty much out the window. I mean you
           secretly prey he'll be taller than you.
                         
          Ryan smiles.
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           Not an asshole would be nice? Just
           someone who enjoys my company. Comes
           from a good family - You don't think
           about that when you're younger.
                          (THINKING)
           Wants kids... Likes kids...
                          (MORE)
           62.
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           Wants kids. Healthy enough to play
           catch with his future son one day.
                         
          We can tell Ryan is taking a serious interest in this.
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           Please let him earn more than I do.
           That doesn't make sense now, but
           believe me, it will one day. Otherwise
           it's just a recipe for disaster.
                          (REACHING)
           Hopefully some hair on his head...?
           But it's not exactly a deal-breaker
           anymore. Nice smile... Yep, a nice
           smile just might do it.
                         
          Alex looks to Ryan. He has a nice smile.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Wow. That was depressing.
                         
          Alex and Ryan react - It's not that bad.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           I should just date lesbians.
                         
                          ALEX
           Tried it. We're no picnic
           ourselves.
                         
          Natalie looks worse than when the conversation started.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I don't mind being married to my
           career, and I don't expect it to
           hold me in bed as I fall asleep.
                          (LOOKS UP)
           I just don't want to settle.
                         
                          ALEX
           You're young. Right now you see
           settling as some sort of failure.
                         
                          NATALIE
           It is. By definition.
                         
                          ALEX
           Don't worry, by the time someone is
           right for you, it won't feel like
           settling... And the only person
           left to judge you will be the
           twenty four year old girl with a
           target on your back.
           63.
                         
                         
          Natalie cracks a smile.
                         
          Ryan looks to Alex. They've grown closer.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY LOUNGE, MIAMI HILTON - DAY
                         
          Ryan, Alex, and Natalie wheel their ROLL-AWAYS towards the
          elevator.
                         
                          NATALIE
           So, what's the plan for this
           evening?
                         
          Ryan and Alex share an uncomfortable silence.
                         
                          NATALIE
           What...? Oh, is it illicit?
                         
                          RYAN
                          (QUICKLY)
           No...
                         
                          ALEX
           It's nothing like that.
                         
                          NATALIE
           We are in Miami.
                         
                          RYAN
           ... We were going to hit that party
           for the tech conference in the hotel.
                         
          Natalie notices a group of SOFTWARE TYPES mingling with
          badges around their necks.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I didn't know you could just attend
           those...
                         
                          ALEX
           Well, I mean...
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (EYES WIDEN)
           You're going to crash it?
                         
                          RYAN ALEX
          I mean, I don't know if... More money than they know
          These guy put on a quite a what to do with...
          party...
                         
                          NATALIE
           No, I get it. I'm in!
           64.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE CORRIDOR, MIAMI HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan, Alex, and Natalie confidently walk up to the CHECK-IN
          TABLE and take BADGES.
                         
          They turn the corner. Alex reads Natalie's badge.
                         
                          ALEX
           Jennifer Chu?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Oh shit!
                         
                          RYAN
           It's going to be fine.
                         
                         
          INT. SOFTWARE CONVENTION PARTY, MIAMI HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          Corporate color balloons. Lots of guys in LOGO POLOS. That
          great hip hop song from 1998 is playing over the PA.
                         
          We find Ryan, Alex, and Natalie at a stand up table. They're now
          wearing badges. Natalie is pretty tipsy at this point.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (TO NATALIE)
           You okay there?
                         
                          NATALIE
           Oh yeah... This was a great idea.
                          (TO ALEX)
           You are so pretty. You're exactly what
           I want to look like in fifteen years.
                         
                          ALEX
           Thank you, Natalie.
                         
          A CONFERENCE LEADER steps up to an on stage MIC.
                         
                          CONFERENCE LEADER
           How's everyone doing out there?!
                         
          People cheer. So do Ryan, Alex, and particularly Natalie.
                         
                          CONFERENCE LEADER
           I'm going to need you to all put
           your hands together for a very
           special guest - YOUNG... M... C!
                         
          The opening beats of the 90's jam "Bust-A-Move" blast over
          the speakers and sure enough, now-40-year-old rapper, Young
          MC steps out and starts rapping.
           65.
                         
                         
                          YOUNG MC
           THIS HERE'S A TALE FOR ALL THE
           FELLAS... TRY TO DO WHAT THOSE
           LADIES TELL US... GET SHOT DOWN
           CAUSE YOU'RE OVERZEALOUS... PLAY
           HARD TO GET, FEMALES GET JEALOUS...
                         
          Everyone goes crazy and starts dancing.
                         
          Ryan and Alex make it out to the dance floor. They're awful
          dancers, but they're having fun.
                         
                          RYAN
           Think she'll be okay?
                         
                          ALEX
           Look...
                         
          Natalie has already found a dancing partner, who can't
          believe his luck. She's all over him. Ryan smiles.
                         
                         
          EXT. BOAT - NIGHT
                         
          A nice two story yacht that was obviously purchased before
          the bubble popped. Inside the galley, a group is playing
          karaoke. NATALIE, wearing BADGES like Mardi Gras beads, is
          singing "Time After Time".
                         
          Meanwhile, near the back, Ryan and Alex sit with their legs
          hanging off the back of the hull.
                         
                          ALEX
           Back home, I don't get to act the way
           I do with you.
                         
                          RYAN
           That's why I don't have a "back home".
                         
                          ALEX
           I know. You're so cool. "Mr. Empty
           Back Pack".
                         
          Ryan emotionally stumbles.
                         
                          RYAN
           You know about the back pack?
                         
                          ALEX
           I googled you.
                         
                          RYAN
           You did?
           66.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
          It's what us modern girls do when
          we have a crush.
                         
                          RYAN
          Did it bother you?
                         
                          ALEX
          Well, that depends. Is the bag
          empty because you hate people or
          just the baggage they bring along?
                         
                          RYAN
          I don't hate people. I'm not
          exactly a hermit.
                         
                          ALEX
          You just don't want to be tied down?
          The whole responsibility thing.
                         
                          RYAN
          I don't think it's even that...
          I... First time I ever flew, I was
          sixteen.
                         
                          ALEX
          You're not going to answer? You're
          just going to tell me a story?
                         
                          RYAN
           (smiles, continues story)
          It was January and I had just
          gotten my driver's license. The
          lakes were frozen over, so we piled
          into my car and hit the ice to do
          donuts. When, out of nowhere, I hit
          a soft spot and the hood of my car
          tilted up and I was sinking
          backwards into the water.
                         
                          ALEX
          Jesus...
                         
                          RYAN
          I literally started to drown.
          Within a few seconds, I black out.
          Then, I wake up in the sky. I'm in a
          helicopter, laying on a stretcher.
          This guy in a uniform is telling me I
          was minutes away from dying.
                         
                          ALEX
          Oh my God.
           67.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Right?
           (relives it for a second)
           So just as we're hovering over the
           hospital, I sit up. And from there,
           I could see the whole western
           horizon. We'd been flying twenty
           minutes. Twenty minutes to reach a
           city I'd thought of as remote,
           halfway across the state... a
           foreign capital.
                          (A BEAT)
           My parents had taught me we lived
           in the best place on Earth, but now
           I could see the world was really
           just one place and comparing didn't
           make much sense. And I remember
           thinking - Don't tell me this isn't
           an age of miracles. Don't tell me
           we can't be everywhere at once.
                         
          The idea settles in. Ryan returns to the point.
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't know what originally
           sparked the back pack. I probably
           needed to be alone. Recently, I've
           been thinking that maybe I needed
           to empty the bag before I knew what
           to put back in.
                         
          And now they kiss. It's notably different from their previous
          kisses. Now, when they lock lips, we are reminded why people
          kiss in the first place.
                         
          Then, all of a sudden, the lights go out on the boat. The
          motor has stopped. Ryan and Alex look back to find the
          software dude stepping out of the galley, drunk.
                         
                          SOFTWARE DUDE
           Hey... I think we're out of gas.
                         
          Ryan and Alex look out to shore... about 500 yards away. For
          whatever reason, they just start cracking up.
                         
                         
          EXT. PONTOON BOAT - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan and Alex are huddled under a blanket in the corner of
          the rubber boat as it putters its way to shore.
                         
          Cold, soaked, and smiling.
                         
          Natalie and David are there too... still kissing.
           68.
                         
                         
          EXT. BEACH - NIGHT
                         
          Everyone gets out of the boat in the cold knee deep water and
          splashes up to shore.
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, MIAMI HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan and Alex followed by Natalie and her make-out buddy,
          soaked from the knee down, holding their shoes, scamper into
          the hotel on the balls of their feet.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S HOTEL ROOM, MIAMI HILTON - NEXT MORNING
                         
          Ryan's eyes flutter awake to see Alex getting dressed.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey, you're up...
                         
                          ALEX
           Got to fly stand-by and make a
           meeting in Milwaukee.
                         
                          RYAN
                          (DISAPPOINTED)
           Oh... Okay.
                         
                          ALEX
           (notices, teasing)
           Oh, no. I made you feel cheap.
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah, all right... Just leave the
           money on the dresser.
                         
                          ALEX
                          (SWEETLY)
           I'll text you later so we can swap
           schedules.
                         
          Alex gives him a peck. Ryan takes her wrist so she can't leave.
                         
                          RYAN
           I can't remember the last time I
           enjoyed spending time with someone
           as much as you.
                         
                          ALEX
           Neither can I.
                         
          They kiss again and he lets go. Alex leaves and the door
          closes. Ryan just lays in bed for a moment.
           69.
                         
                         
          INT. CAFE - MIAMI HILTON - MORNING
                         
          Ryan and Natalie have a quiet breakfast. Natalie looks pretty
          worse for wear.
                         
          In the background is a TRAVELING SALESMAN rolling calls. He
          perks up for each message then goes back to being miserable.
                         
          Meanwhile, after a little silent eating...
                         
                          NATALIE
           Last night got a little out of
           hand. I said things... I don't
           remember everything I said. I just
           didn't want you to think...
                         
                          RYAN
           Just relax. It was nice to see you
           cut loose. So, did you wake him up
           or slip out?
                         
                          NATALIE
           What?
                         
                          RYAN
           This morning... Your new friend.
           Did you wake him for an awkward
           good bye or just slip out so he
           could feel like a whore.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (NOT PROUD)
           I... just left.
                         
                          RYAN
           Protocol is always tricky.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I didn't know what was right.
                         
                          RYAN
           Sometimes there really is no right
           thing to do.
                         
          This doesn't comfort her.
                         
                         
          EXT. OCEAN BOARDWALK, MIAMI - DAY
                         
          The walkway overlooks a large MARINA filled with giant
          YACHTS. Ryan and Natalie are doing the photo thing with the
          CUT OUT of the engagement portrait again.
           70.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
          What happened to Alex?
                         
                          RYAN
          Had to skip town early to make a
          meeting.
                         
                          NATALIE
          That's too bad. Where does she live?
                         
                          RYAN
          Chicago.
                         
                          NATALIE
          You thinking of going to see her?
                         
                          RYAN
          I don't know. We just don't have
          that kind of relationship.
                         
                          NATALIE
          What kind of relationship do you
          have?
                         
                          RYAN
          It's, you know. Casual.
                         
                          NATALIE
          Sounds pretty special.
                         
                          RYAN
          It works for us.
                         
                          NATALIE
          Think there's any future there?
                         
                          RYAN
          Never thought about it. What's
          going on here?
                         
                          NATALIE
          Really never thought about it?
                         
                          RYAN
           (a good lie)
          No.
                         
                          NATALIE
          How can you not think about these
          things? How does it not even cross
          your mind that you might want to
          have a future with somebody?
           71.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           It's simple, you know that moment
           when you look into someone's eyes
           and you feel them looking right
           into your soul, and the whole world
           goes quiet for a second.
                         
                          NATALIE
           (finally, a break through)
           Yes.
                         
                          RYAN
           Right. Well, I don't.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You're an asshole.
                         
          Natalie knocks over the CUT OUT and stands up.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh come on, I'm just dicking
           around. I need your help...
                         
                          NATALIE
           Don't you think it's worth giving
           her a chance?
                         
                          RYAN
           A chance to what?
                         
                          NATALIE
           A chance at something real?
                         
                          RYAN
           Natalie, your definition of "real"
           is going to evolve as you get
           older...
                         
                          NATALIE
           Would you stop condescending for
           one second? Or is that one of the
           principles of your bullshit
           philosophy?
                         
                          RYAN
           Bullshit philosophy?
                         
                          NATALIE
           The isolation? The traveling? Is
           that supposed to be charming?
                         
                          RYAN
           No, it's simply a life choice.
           72.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           It's a cocoon of self-banishment.
                         
                          RYAN
           Wow. Big words.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Screw you.
                         
                          RYAN
           Well, screw you too.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You've set up a way of life that
           basically makes it impossible for
           you to make any human connections.
           Now, somehow, this woman runs the
           gauntlet of your ridiculous "life
           choice" and comes out the other end
           with a smile - Just so you can call
           her casual. Jesus. I need to grow
           up? You're a twelve year old.
                         
          Natalie begins walking away.
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't have a gauntlet of...
                         
          A GUST OF WIND suddenly blows the CUTOUT across the boardwalk
          into the OCEAN.
                         
                          RYAN
           ... Fuck!
                         
          Ryan goes running after the cutout. He climbs down a GANGWAY
          to a dock that is closest to the CUTOUT, which is beginning
          to sink in the filthy water.
                         
          Ryan reaches... and reaches... and just as he's got a finger
          tip on the photo... FALLS IN.
                         
                         
          INT. BATHROOM, MIAMI HILTON - DAY
                         
          Ryan, still damp from the ocean, is drying the CUTOUT with a
          hair dryer.
                         
                         
          INT. CONCOURSE, MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          We're following the CUTOUT HEADS popping out of the ROLL-AWAY
          like earlier, only now they are slightly faded and bent from
          their trip in the harbor.
           73.
                         
                         
                         
                         
          EXT. TARMAC, MIAMI INTERNATIONAL - DAY
                         
          We're watching Ryan through the window of the plane. He
          almost looks trapped.
                         
                         
          EXT. TARMAC, DETROIT INTERATIONAL - DAY
                         
          The plane lands amidst snow.
                         
                         
          INT. RENTAL CAR, DETROIT HIGHWAY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie drive in silence. The weather is frigid.
                         
                          RYAN
           These Detroit guys can be tough.
           They've been getting hammered. Don't
           get distracted. Stick to the simple
           stuff. Get the packet in their hands
           and get them out the door.
                         
                         
          EXT. DETROIT CAR PART COMPANY - DAY
                         
          A one story brick building. There's an inch of snow on the
          ground. Ryan and Natalie enter the building in silence.
                         
                         
          INT. DETROIT COMPANY - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Natalie check in at the front desk.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, DETROIT COMPANY - DAY
                         
          The door opens. Ryan and Natalie enter, when they both see
          something and immediately stop short.
                         
          Sitting on the conference table is a COMPUTER set up for a
          VIDEO CONFERENCE.
                         
          Framed up in a WINDOW on the screen is CRAIG GREGORY.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Welcome to Detroit.
                         
          Natalie and Ryan exchange a look.
                         
                          RYAN
           What's going on here?
           74.
                         
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I've been getting those great
           numbers over the last few days.
           Thought we should nut up and give
           this a try.
                         
                          RYAN
           We could use a little more time.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Gotta leave the nest at some point.
                         
                          RYAN
           This is a real company, Craig.
           We're here to do some damage.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I know. Good thing we brought our
           best. So let's stop screwing
           around, alright?
                         
                         
          Ryan sighs.
                         
                          RYAN
           Just give me a minute to prepare
           and get my things together.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I was thinking Natalie takes this one.
                         
          Natalie, once confident, now takes pause.
                         
                          RYAN
           She's hardly ready for this.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I've been watching her. She's great.
                         
                          RYAN
           (re: the webcam)
           This is a whole other animal...
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           I mean, she created it. Natalie,
           you not up for it?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I'm... I'm game.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Atta girl.
           75.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, DETROIT COMPANY - MOMENTS LATER
                         
          Ryan and Natalie have a moment aside.
                         
                          RYAN
           Just remember, don't apologize.
           Don't tell them how hard this is
           for you. Today is one of the worst
           days they will ever have. What we
           feel doesn't even compare.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Got it.
                         
                          RYAN
           Just keep it professional. You're
           going to do fine.
                         
                         
          INT. CRAIG GREGORY'S OFFICE, CTC - LATER
                         
          Craig is leaning back in his office chair, watching Natalie
          on his monitor.
                         
                         
          INT. ALTERNATE CONFERENCE ROOM, DETROIT COMPANY - DAY
                         
          An unsuspecting man in his mid fifties enters the room and
          takes a seat at a COMPUTER TERMINAL.
                         
          (for the remainder of the scene, we will intercut between
          Natalie's room and the POV of the man's iChat session.)
                         
                          NATALIE
           Hello, Mr. Samuels. My name is
           Natalie Keener.
                         
                          SAMUELS
           (checking out the PC)
           What's going on here?
                         
                          NATALIE
           I wish I was here with better news,
           however your position here at
           Deckers is no longer available.
                         
                          SAMUELS
           What are you talking about?
                         
                          NATALIE
           You've been let go.
           76.
                         
                         
                          SAMUELS
           What, just like that? I can't
           believe... Who are you?
                         
                          NATALIE
           My name is Miss Keener. I am here
           to tell you about your options...
                         
                          SAMUELS
           I work here for seventeen years and
           they send some fourth grader in here
           to can me? What the fuck is this?!
                         
          Ryan fights the urge to jump in. He is sitting next to
          Natalie, but just out of view of the camera.
                         
                          NATALIE
           It's perfectly normal to be upset.
           However, the sooner you can tell
           yourself that there are greater
           opportunities waiting for you...
                         
                          SAMUELS
           Greater opportunities? I'm fifty-
           seven-fucking years old!
                         
          Mr. Samuels is now on the verge of tears. Eyes red.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Anybody who ever built an empire,
           or changed the world, sat where you
           are now. And it's because they sat
           there that they were able to do it.
                         
          We remain in the room with Natalie and Ryan, but we hear Mr.
          Samuels crying. It's loud and embarrassing. It's coming from
          the next room. He's literally on the other side of the wall.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           There's a packet in front of you.
                         
          Samuels picks up the packet and opens it.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           I want you to take some time and
           review it.
                         
          Samuels begins to leaf through.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           All the answers you're looking for
           are inside those pages.
                          (MORE)
           77.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           The sooner you trust the process,
           the sooner your next step in life
           will unveil itself.
                         
          Samuels puts down the packet. The tears still coming slowly.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           I need you to return to your office
           now and begin to put together your
           personal things.
                         
          Samuels doesn't move. He's just sitting there in a daze.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Thank you for your time, Mr. Samuels.
                         
          No reaction. Just more silent tears. Natalie is getting nervous.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Mr. Samuels? There's nothing else
           we can discuss now.
                          (AND AGAIN)
           Thank you for your time.
                         
          Ryan fights the urge to break in as Natalie continues to lose
          her composure.
                         
          Craig leans into his computer, watching intently.
                         
                          NATALIE (CONT'D)
           Mr. Samuels... Mr. Samuels.... MR.
           SAMUELS...
                         
          Finally, Samuels breaks from his daze. He looks up and around
          for a second, then gets up and leaves.
                         
          Natalie catches her breath. A second later, Samuels passes
          their room, visible through the conference room windows. They
          watch as he walks away.
                         
                          RYAN
           You did good.
                         
          Natalie nods.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           You okay? Want me to take over.
                         
                          NATALIE
           No, I'm alright.
                         
          Natalie pulls out a LIST OF FORTY NAMES. The amount of people
          is daunting. She crosses off the first name.
           78.
                         
                         
          EXT. PARKING LOT, DETROIT CAR PART COMPANY - AFTERNOON
                         
          We find Natalie standing next to the rental car. She's staring
          into a snow drift. Her eyes say everything - She just grew up.
                         
          Meanwhile, Ryan is on his CELL. We catch the end of his
          conversation with Craig.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           ... We just got out here. That was
           one place. I think we need to try a
           few more...
                          (LISTENS)
           Maybe there isn't a difference, but
           it's comforting to know we're in
           the next room.
                          (LISTENING)
           I know you don't give a shit about
           my comfort.
                          (LISTENS)
           We could just use a little more
           time. That's all I'm saying.
                          (LISTENS)
           Right... Right.
           (shakes his head)
           Yeah... Alright... Uh huh. Bye.
                         
          Ryan hangs up.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           He thought you did a great job. You
           did - I was real proud of you.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Thanks.
                         
                          RYAN
           We're being pulled off the road.
                          (CLARIFYING)
           We're going home.
                         
                          NATALIE
           For good?
                         
                          RYAN
           That's what it looks like.
                         
          A moment of mixed emotions.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S ROOM, DETROIT HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan is holding the LARGE EMBOSSED ENVELOPE of his sister's
          WEDDING INVITATION.
           79.
                         
                         
          He pulls out the RESPONSE CARD, looks at the line for extra
          guests, then sets it down. He pulls out the actual
          INVITATION. It looks inexpensive. Sighs.
                         
                         
          INT. NORTH TERMINAL, DETROIT AIRPORT - MORNING
                         
          Ryan and Natalie ride the MOVING WALKWAY. Something is on
          Natalie's mind. She speaks up.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I'm sorry about what I said about
           Alex. I was out of line.
                         
                          RYAN
           It's alright. I understand.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I mean, who am I to be dolling out
           relationship advice?
                         
                          RYAN
           It's fine.
                         
                          NATALIE
           You going to be okay?
                         
                          RYAN
           What do you mean?
                         
                          NATALIE
           In Omaha?
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, I don't know.
                         
                          NATALIE
           It's better than you'd think.
                         
          They get off the moving walkway and stop at a GATE that reads
          "Omaha". Something off screen grabs Ryan's attention.
                         
          Ryan begins to walk off. Pulls out his BLACKBERRY and dials.
                         
                          NATALIE
           Ryan, where are you going?
                         
                          RYAN
           Grabbing another flight... Something
           I need to take care of. I'll see you
           in, uh... at home.
                         
          Ryan disappears in the crowd.
           80.
                         
                         
          EXT. PARKING LOT, LAS VEGAS - DAY
                         
          We're looking at the LUXOR PYRAMID.
                         
           RYAN (O.C.)
           Okay, start walking it in from the left.
                         
          ALEX enters frame, carrying the engagement CUT OUT.
                         
                          ALEX
           I have to admit, when you asked me to
           meet you in Vegas... I thought we'd
           gamble, make out in a heart shaped
           jacuzzi, maybe see one of those weird
           French Canadian circus shows.
                         
                          RYAN
           There'll be plenty of time for all that.
           (directing the photo)
           One more foot to the left.
                         
          Alex obliges. She checks out the engagement photo.
                         
                          ALEX
           How do you feel about the wedding?
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm fine, I guess.
           (directing the photo)
           Okay great... walk away.
                         
          Ryan takes the photo.
                         
          Alex picks up the engagement photo.
                         
                          ALEX
           They're a cute couple.
                         
                          RYAN
           Think so?
                         
                          ALEX
           Yeah, they'll make cute kids. If they're
           lucky, maybe look a little like you.
                         
          Alex and Ryan look at the photo together for a second.
                         
                          RYAN
           How do you like Wisconsin in February?
                         
                          ALEX
           Who doesn't?
                          (SWEETLY)
                          (MORE)
           81.
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           I like it if you're there. Besides, I
           know a killer burger in Milwaukee.
                         
                          RYAN
           Northern Wisconsin.
                          (CLARIFYING)
           What are you doing this weekend?
                         
          This quickly registers... He's inviting me to the wedding.
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           No...
                         
                          RYAN
           What? I haven't even...
                         
                          ALEX
           I can't.
                         
                          RYAN
           Why not?
                         
                          ALEX
           I couldn't.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm being serious.
                         
                          ALEX
           You want me to be your date?
                         
                          RYAN
           Well... Yeah.
                         
                          ALEX
           To a wedding... Jesus, Ryan. Your
           sister's wedding?
                         
                          RYAN
           It's not like I know her that well.
                         
                          ALEX
           I'm just not sure if it's
           appropriate for me to...
                         
                          RYAN
           Look. You know. I'm not the wedding
           type. But for the first time in my
           life... I don't want to be that
           guy, alone with his drink. I want a
           dancing partner. I want a plus one.
           And if you can stomach it, I'd like
           it to be you.
           82.
                         
                         
          A long thoughtful beat. Alex sighs.
                         
                          ALEX
           Okay.
                         
                          RYAN
           Really?
                         
                          ALEX
           Yeah, I can't believe I... Yeah,
           I'm in. When is it?
                         
                          RYAN
           I feel like we should kiss or
           something.
                         
                          ALEX
           Then kiss me.
                         
          They do.
                         
                         
          INT. BAGGAGE CAROUSEL, MILWAUKEE AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Two ROLL-AWAYS side-by-side, moving through the terminal.
                         
          Ryan and Alex walk in unison. They share a smile. Almost like
          they can't believe they're getting away with something.
                         
          They pass a LARGE AIRLINE ADVERTISEMENT featuring MAYNARD
          FINCH in uniform. "We Value Your Loyalty."
                         
                         
          EXT. DRIVEWAY, CHALET SUITES - DAY
                         
          Ryan's rental car pulls into the CHALET SUITES driveway. It's
          halfway between a Swiss Lodge and a Best Western. Just a
          little sadder. A yellow sign reads "Welcome Miller-Bingham
          Wedding Guests!"
                         
                         
          INT. LOBBY, CHALET SUITES HOTEL - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Alex approach the check-in lines. Of course, there's
          an elite membership line, but they can't use it.
                         
          Ryan is forced to stand in a queue of three people while a
          CHECK-IN LADY just stands at her computer at the elite line.
                         
                          RYAN
           (to the CHECK-IN LADY)
           Are you available?
           83.
                         
                         
                          CHECK-IN LADY
           Sorry, this line is for members of
           our Matterhorn program.
                         
          Ryan steams.
                         
                         
          INT. CORRIDOR, CHALET SUITES - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Alex walk down the long hallway. They've been given
          a room at the end. Just as they're entering their room, the
          door across the hall opens revealing a woman in her early
          forties with a basket of laundry. It's Ryan's sister KARA.
                         
                          KARA
           Ryan?
                         
          Ryan turns and stops. It's been a while...
                         
                          RYAN
           Kara...
                         
          They hug. It's a strange hug. Awkward but heartfelt.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Alex, this is my sister Kara.
                         
                          KARA
           Well, hello.
                         
                          ALEX
           Hi.
                         
                          KARA
           (quite frankly...)
           Ryan has told me nothing about you.
                         
                          RYAN
           Kara, what are you doing at a hotel?
                         
                          KARA
           Fuck, I was hoping I wouldn't have
           to... Yeah, uh, Frank and I are
           trying out a trial separation.
                         
                          RYAN
           You're not staying at the house?
                         
                          KARA
           There was an extra room on hold
           here, so I just took it for the
           weekend.
           84.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, okay.
                         
                          KARA
           Yup. So, you guys are dating?
                         
          Ryan and Alex fumble over each other.
                         
                          RYAN
           Um...
                         
                          ALEX
           It's not exactly...
                         
                          KARA
           Hey, don't worry about it. We're
           all getting a little old to be
           calling someone girlfriend... I
           remember when mom used to call Jack
           her boyfriend. It drove me up the
           wall. Boyfriends are for kids...
                          (MOCK ANNOUNCING)
           And I'm just a divorcee!
                         
          An awkward beat in the corridor of the Chalet Suites.
                         
                          RYAN
           So, the rehearsal dinner?
                         
                          KARA
           Yeah, I'll see you two there.
                         
          Kara humps the laundry basket down the hall.
                         
                         
          INT. HOTEL ROOM, CHALET SUITES - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Alex settle in. There's a cheap basket with a pink
          ribbon tied sloppily around some cellophane. In the basket is
          a packet, outlining the wedding weekend.
                         
                          RYAN
           There's a packet.
                         
                          ALEX
           What in life is worth doing that
           doesn't have a packet.
                         
                          RYAN
           Um, I love you?
                         
          Ryan is kidding, but not really. They play it off as a joke,
          but can't help feel the weight of this "moment".
           85.
                         
                         
          INT. CLUB ROOM FIRESIDE LOUNGE, CHALET SUITES - EVENING
                         
          A group of tables have been slid together for the rehearsal
          dinner. Ryan and Alex find the dinner in full swing.
                         
          Ryan's sister JULIE, the bride, waves wildly.
                         
                          JULIE
           Oh my God, Ryan!
                         
          She hops up and gives him a hug.
                         
                          JULIE (CONT'D)
           You must be Alex. You are so
           beautiful. Kara was right. Did you
           get the basket?
                         
                          ALEX
           The basket was very lovely.
                         
                          JULIE
           Tammy wrapped all of them.
                         
          Tammy waves.
                         
                          JULIE (CONT'D)
           Ryan, you look so grown up.
                         
                          RYAN
           Me? You're the one getting married.
                         
                          JULIE
           I know, right? You haven't even
           seen my ring.
                         
          Julie shows off her ring. It's not quite balanced and seems
          to favor quantity over quality.
                         
                          JULIE (CONT'D)
                          (PROUDLY)
           Jim designed it.
                         
          JIM raises a hand. This is Julie's husband-to-be and we can
          tell immediately that Ryan isn't thrilled.
                         
          Ryan thinks of something. He pulls out the 5X7 PHOTOS they
          took of the JIM & JULIE CUT OUT.
                         
                          RYAN
           I brought those photos you were
           asking for...
           86.
                         
                         
                          JULIE
                          (LIGHTS UP)
           Oh great! They go over there.
                         
          Julie points to a table and Ryan walks over. When he gets there,
          we see almost a hundred photos pinned to a map of America. It's
          overwhelming. All of a sudden, his effort seems miniscule.
                         
          Ryan begins to pin his photos on the map over the cities
          where they were taken. He backs away to see it as a whole and
          his addition has already become invisible.
                         
          Ryan returns to the conversation with his sister and Alex.
                         
                          RYAN
           There were quite a few already up
           there. Almost couldn't find room.
                         
                          JULIE
           I know, isn't it great how everyone
           chipped in?
                         
                          RYAN
           What gave you the idea to do
           something so...
                         
                          ALEX
                          (HELPS)
           ... Substantial?
                         
                          JULIE
           Well, Jim has a lot of our nest egg
           invested in this real estate
           venture right now. So when we went
           over our finances, a honeymoon just
           didn't seem affordable this
           second... So I thought... Hey, just
           because we can't travel doesn't
           mean we can't have pictures.
                         
          The idea of this lands on Ryan pretty hard.
                         
                          ALEX
           It was a great idea.
                         
                          JULIE
           Thanks.
                         
                          CUT TO:
           87.
                         
                         
          AN HOUR LATER
                         
          Ryan is stuck with Jim, talking real estate. Alex is having a
          chat with the brides maids about local relationship drama.
                         
                          JIM
           It's sixty acres up against the
           foothills. I subdivided the old
           Lazy W Ranch and took a nice slice
           for myself.
                         
                          RYAN
           Sounds nice.
                         
          Jim makes an exhale noise that means "you bet your ass".
                         
                          JIM
           Homes will go in the high fours.
                         
                          RYAN
           Must be a nice development.
                         
                          JIM
                          (CORRECTING)
           It's a community, not a development.
           The concept is turn-key everything.
           You buy a maintenance contract with
           the home. We'll whack your weeds,
           we'll even change the light bulb.
           Furniture? You buy your own or choose
           a package. Seamless traditionalism,
           yet all the perks.
                         
                          RYAN
           Nice.
                         
          Ryan and Alex make eye contact. There's a joy in their
          connection amongst the ramblings of their company.
                         
                          JIM
           We all need a place to call our
           own. This is America. This is what
           we were promised.
                         
                          RYAN
           That's a nice touch.
                         
                          JIM
           What?
                         
                          RYAN
           That bit at the end about
           promise... I like it.
           88.
                         
                         
                          JIM
           (a little embarrassed)
           Thanks.
                          (LEADING)
           So, you still renting that one-
           bedroom?
                         
                          RYAN
           I gave it up.
                         
                          JIM
                          (SURPRISED)
           You own now?
                         
                          RYAN
           No.
                         
                          JIM
           But you're looking?
                         
                          RYAN
           Not really. No.
                         
          The conversation stalls out.
                         
                         
          EXT. DRIVEWAY, CHALET SUITES - NIGHT
                         
          Everyone is leaving. Tammy grabs Julie's hands.
                         
                          TAMMY
           Can you believe it's tomorrow?! How
           are you going to sleep?
                         
                          JULIE
           I don't know!
                         
                          TAMMY
           You want some Xanax?
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't think that's for sleeping.
                         
                          JULIE
           No, I'm good. I'll have some warm
           milk. That should do the trick.
                         
          Jim comes walking by with a box of flower arrangements from
          the tables inside that are going to be reused at the wedding.
                         
                          JIM
           One more box...
           89.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
           I'll get it.
                         
                          RYAN
           You sure?
                         
                          ALEX
           Yeah, yeah...
                         
          Alex steps back in and for the first time in who knows how
          many years, Ryan, Kara, and Julie are alone together.
                         
                          RYAN
           Jim seems like a good guy.
                         
                          JULIE
           Yeah, I know... Isn't he great?
                         
                          KARA
           He's going to make a great husband.
                         
          There's a moment where they just look at each other and
          giggle a little. Just the three of them.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey, Julie, I was thinking... with
           dad not being... Well, I didn't
           know if you had someone to walk you
           down the aisle...
                         
                          JULIE
           Oh, yeah, Jim's uncle is going to
           do it.
                         
                          KARA
                          (UNCOMFORTABLE)
           He's been really supportive.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh... Oh, great. Just wanted to
           make sure you were covered. So I
           should get there at...
                         
                          JULIE
           Guests are arriving around 5ish.
           Things get going at 530. So you
           know, around then. It's easy. Just
           come down the elevator.
                         
          Alex comes out with the second box. Ryan notices and grabs the
          flowers from her and sets them in Jim's luxury pick-up truck.
           90.
                         
                         
          INT. CORRIDOR, CHALET SUITES - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan, Alex, and Kara arrive at their adjacent rooms. Key
          cards slide in simultaneously. Alex heads in. Ryan stops.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey Kara?
                         
                          KARA
           Yeah.
                         
                          RYAN
           Can you believe she's getting
           married already? She's just a kid.
                         
                          KARA
           No Ryan. Actually, she's 37 years
           old. She's barely squeaking by.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh.
                         
                          KARA
           Yup. Sleep tight.
                         
                          FADE TO:
                         
                         
          EXT. RYAN'S OLD HIGH SCHOOL - NEXT MORNING
                         
          The rental car pulls up into the empty lot. Snow on the
          ground. It's cold.
                         
          Ryan and Alex walk up the steps and try the door of the main
          building - it's locked. Ryan shrugs.
                         
                          ALEX
           That's all you got?
                         
          Alex starts walking down the side of the building, looking
          for an open window. The third one opens a crack. She slides
          her HOTEL HONORS CARD in and opens the latch.
                         
                          RYAN
           Are we really doing this?
                         
                          ALEX
           Give me a boost.
           91.
                         
                         
          INT. CLASSROOM, WAUPACA HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
                         
          Alex slowly wedges herself headfirst through the window. Ryan
          climbs in after her. He immediately recognizes his
          surroundings.
                         
                          RYAN
           I took geography in here.
                          (POINTING)
           That was my seat.
                         
                          ALEX
           You ever fool around with one of
           your teachers?
                         
                          RYAN
           No. You?
                         
                          ALEX
           Not until college. Come on, show me
           around.
                         
          They head for the door.
                         
                         
          A TEAM PHOTO OF A HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TEAM
                         
          A finger reaches and points to a teenage face.
                         
           RYAN (O.C.)
           That's me.
                         
                         
          INT. HALLWAY, WAUPACA HIGH SCHOOL - NEXT MORNING
                         
          Ryan and Alex are huddled at the trophy case.
                         
                          ALEX
           You played basketball?
                         
                          RYAN
           Point guard. Don't act so surprised.
                         
                          ALEX
           I didn't know you were such a jock.
                         
                         
          EXT. LOADING DOCK, WAUPACA HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
                         
          Ryan and Alex walk passed a concrete ledge.
                         
                          RYAN
           My first fight.
           92.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
           How'd it go?
                         
                          RYAN
           Got my ass kicked.
                         
                         
          INT. STAIRWELL, WAUPACA HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
                         
          Ryan shows an area behind the stairwell.
                         
                          RYAN
           This is where we used to go to make out.
                         
                          ALEX
           Very romantic.
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          RYAN AND ALEX KISSING UNDER THE STAIRWELL
                         
                         
          EXT. SOCCER FIELD, WAUPACA HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
                         
          Alex and Ryan sit tight like teenagers on the team bench.
                         
                          ALEX
           I'm really happy I came here.
                         
          The school soccer team takes the field for practice.
                         
                          RYAN
           (to the team)
           Go Cougars!
                         
          Players look back at him strangely.
                         
          Ryan's phone rings.
                         
                          RYAN
           (checks caller ID)
           It's Kara.
                         
          The first thing we hear is crying in the background.
                         
                          INTERCUT WITH:
                         
                         
          INT. CHURCH - DAY
                         
          Kara is on her cell phone. Behind her in the deep background,
          we see bridesmaids consoling Julie.
           93.
                         
                         
                          KARA
           Ryan, where are you? We're having a
           meltdown here.
                         
                          RYAN
           What's wrong? What happened?
                         
                          KARA
           It's Jim. Can you get back here? We
           need your help.
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah, of course...
                         
                         
          EXT. CHURCH - DAY
                         
          Ryan's rental car pulls up in front. He hops out and Alex
          takes the driver's seat.
                         
                          ALEX
           I'll grab your suit.
                          (ADDING)
           Good luck.
                         
                         
          INT. ENTRY, CHURCH - DAY
                         
          Ryan immediately spots Julie sobbing and being consoled by
          her bride's maids. The groomsmen are huddled in another
          corner, embarrassed and confused. Kara splits from the brides
          maids and takes Ryan aside.
                         
                          RYAN
           What happened?
                         
                          KARA
           Jim's got cold feet.
                         
                          RYAN
           Today?
                         
                          KARA
           That's how cold feet work.
                         
                          RYAN
           What do you want me to do?
                         
                          KARA
           Talk to him.
                         
                          RYAN
           You want me to talk to him?
           94.
                         
                         
                          KARA
           Hey, it's either you or me. You know my
           record. I've already struck out once.
                         
                          RYAN
           I haven't been to bat. I haven't
           been in the dugout.
                         
                          KARA
           Don't you talk for a living?
           Motivational type stuff?
                         
                          RYAN
           I tell people how to avoid commitment.
                         
          A beat.
                         
                          KARA
           What kind of fucked up message is that?
                         
                          RYAN
           It's a philosophy.
                         
                          KARA
           It's stupid.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey, it might have helped you.
                         
          A beat of stalemate.
                         
                          KARA
           Come on, Ryan. You haven't been
           around much. Fuck, you basically
           don't exist to us. I know you want
           to be there for her... Well here it
           is. This is your chance.
                         
          Ryan takes a breath.
                         
                         
          INT. SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOM, CHURCH - DAY
                         
          Ryan quietly steps in to find Jim, half dressed in a tux
          reading the children's book "The Velveteen Rabbit". Jim
          sniffles. Ryan goes to leave, when...
                         
                          JIM
           Ryan?
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, hey Jim.
           95.
                         
                         
                          JIM
           You ever read this?
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah, it's pretty powerful stuff.
                         
                          JIM
           I'll say.
                         
                          RYAN
           Kara mentioned you were having
           some... thoughts?
                         
          Jim puts down the book.
                         
                          JIM
           I don't think I can do this.
                         
                          RYAN
           Okay. What makes you say that today?
                         
                          JIM
           I was just laying there last night
           in bed and I couldn't sleep. I was
           thinking about the wedding and the
           ceremony and all. Us buying a house
           and moving in together. Having a
           kid... Having another kid...
           (begins to snowball)
           ... Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring
           break, football games, all of a sudden
           they're out of school, getting jobs,
           getting married, And then, you know...
           I'm a grandparent. I'm retired. Before
           you know it - I'm dead... and I just
           kept thinking... "What's the point?"
                         
          Ryan gulps. Fuck.
                         
                          JIM (CONT'D)
           (now asking Ryan directly)
           I mean what is the point?
                         
                          RYAN
           The point?
                         
                          JIM
           Yeah, I mean, what am I starting here?
                         
                          RYAN
                          (DANCING)
           It's marriage... it's the most
           beautiful thing on Earth... you
           know, what everyone aspires to...
           96.
                         
                         
                          JIM
           You never got married.
                         
                          RYAN
           That's true...
                         
                          JIM
           You never even tried.
                         
                          RYAN
           Well, it's hard to define "try".
                         
                          JIM
           You seem happier than most of my
           married friends.
                         
          Ryan takes a beat.
                         
                          RYAN
           Jim, I'm not going to lie. Marriage
           can be a pain in the ass. And
           you're kind of right - All of this
           is just stuff on the way to your
           eventual demise.
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          KARA EAVESDROPPING AT THE DOOR WITH A LOOK OF COLD FEAR
                         
                          BACK TO:
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           We are all on running clocks that
           cannot be slowed down or paused and
           they all lead to the same place.
           Some guys leave marks that last
           beyond their own mortality. Not guys
           like you and me... But some. But
           even those footprints disappear.
                          (A BEAT)
           There isn't a "point".
                         
          Jim sinks a little.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           I'm not the guy you'd normally want
           to talk to about all this stuff...
           But think about it - your favorite
           memories. The greatest moments of
           your life? Were you alone?
           97.
                         
                         
                          JIM
           (thinks about it)
           No... I guess not.
                         
                          RYAN
           I don't want to sound like a
           Hallmark card, but... Life? It's
           better with company.
                         
          Jim nods.
                         
                          RYAN (CONT'D)
           Come to think of it... Last night,
           the night before your wedding, when
           all this shit was circling through
           your head... Weren't you two
           sleeping in separate rooms?
                         
                          JIM
           Yeah, Julie went back to the
           apartment and I was all alone in
           that big honeymoon suite...
                         
          Jim chuckles to himself.
                         
                          RYAN
           Kind of lonely?
                         
                          JIM
           Yeah.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hey. Everybody needs a copilot.
                         
          This resonates with Jim and he can't help but smile.
                         
                          JIM
           That's a nice touch.
                         
                          RYAN
           Thanks.
                         
                          JIM
           What's the mood like out there?
                         
                          RYAN
           It's not good... Emotional.
                         
                          JIM
           What should I do?
                         
                          RYAN
           (twinkle in his eye)
           Go get her.
           98.
                         
                         
          INT. ENTRY, CHURCH
                         
          Jim walks over to the huddle of bride's maids. They part and
          let him in. He kneels at Julie's feet...
                         
                          JIM
           I'm sorry I'm such a fuck up...
           Will you be my co-pilot?
                         
          Julie gives him a perplexed look before smiling and falling
          into his arms. Tears and smiles spread amongst the girls.
                         
          Kara walks over to Ryan and pats him on the shoulder.
                         
                          KARA
           Welcome home.
                         
          MONTAGE BEGINS AS A SERIES OF IMAGES:
                         
          - Ryan and Alex getting dressed in a little kitchen in the
          church. They're in a hurry and a little sloppy, but there's a
          crooked joy in their faces.
                         
          - Jim standing at the alter with the priest getting a pat on
          the back from his best man.
                         
          - Julie getting walked to the alter by Jim's uncle. They pass
          Ryan, who looks on proudly.
                         
          - The priest gives his blessings.
                         
          - Jim raises Julie's veil. They kiss.
                         
          - Wedding attendees file into the Chalet Suites Banquet Hall.
                         
          - Ryan and Alex mingle with their table.
                         
                          RYAN
           Hi, I'm Ryan.
                         
                          WEDDING GUEST
           I'm your cousin... Harold.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, hey!
                         
          - Ryan and Alex dance like teenagers.
                         
          - The band does a cheesy choreographed dance step.
                         
          - Jim makes a speech. He is not good at public speaking, but
          the guests are generous with laughter.
                         
          - Tammy has her tongue down a groomsmen's throat.
           99.
                         
                         
          - Ryan pulls Kara onto the dance floor. She rests her head on
          his shoulder and they slow dance.
                         
          - Jim and Julie make their farewell and run off.
                         
          - Ryan and Alex help pick the center pieces off the tables.
                         
          - Ryan and Alex get into the elevator together. She's wearing
          his jacket. We're about to see them kiss, when the elevator
          door closes.
                         
                         
          INT. CONCOURSE, MILWAUKEE AIRPORT - MORNING
                         
          Ryan and Alex stand between their gates. One sign reads
          OMAHA. The other sign reads CHICAGO.
                         
                          ALEX
           When am I going to see you?
                         
                          RYAN
           You're just going to have to come
           and visit.
                         
                          ALEX
           So settled down. You're not going
           to change on me...
                         
                          RYAN
           Same guy. Just one address.
                         
          We hear a boarding announcement for Chicago. Alex begins to
          step away to her gate.
                         
                          ALEX
           Call me if you get lonely.
                         
          A beat. And then...
                         
                          RYAN
           ... I'm lonely.
                         
          Alex turns for her gate and joins the crowd. Ryan goes to say
          something. He has an impulse... but he finally ignores it and
          gets in line under the sign that reads "OMAHA".
                         
                          CUT TO:
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S APARTMENT, OMAHA - EARLY EVENING
                         
          The door opens and Ryan wheels in his Roll-Away. He walks over
          to the window, parts the blinds and checks out his awful view.
           100.
                         
                         
          We see Ryan opening some mail. We see Ryan laying in bed.
                         
          It's quiet. It's alone.
                         
                         
          INT. CTC HEADQUARTERS, CTC - DAY
                         
          Natalie is giving Ryan a tour of the new ONLINE FIRING AREA -
          A series of cubicles with YOUNG GUYS ON HEADSETS. She is in
          her element and very proud of her work.
                         
                          NATALIE
           ... Some guy sits down in a
           conference room somewhere and a
           server routes their session to one
           of our termination engineers.
                         
                          RYAN
           You don't actually call them that.
                         
                          NATALIE
           I prefer "terminators", but it
           bumped with legal.
                         
                          RYAN
           Really? I can't imagine why.
                         
                          NATALIE
           They follow a workflow that can take
           them through anything from a standard
           dismissal to a violent aggressor.
                         
                          RYAN
           Are they actually on line, right now?
                         
                          NATALIE
           No, they're beta-testing. Role-playing.
           We go live at the end of the month.
           (catches one of the guys
           making a mistake)
           Kyle, you're running through the
           events too quickly. You have to give
           them time to acknowledge each
           statement. Okay? It's a legal thing.
                         
          Ryan can only watch.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S OFFICE, CTC - DAY
                         
          Ryan is sitting at his desk. He puts on a HEADSET.
                         
                          RYAN
           This is ridiculous.
           101.
                         
                         
          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, CTC - ANOTHER DAY
                         
          Craig is leading a meeting. Ryan seems focused on something
          on his laptop. We see his screen: An itinerary for GoalQuest.
                         
                         
          EXT. LAS VEGAS STRIP - DAY
                         
          One of the GIANT DIGITAL MARQUEES reads: "GOALQUEST XX"
                         
                         
          INT. GREEN ROOM, GOALQUEST - DAY
                         
          Ryan sits on a sofa, holding his BACKPACK. A slick GOALQUEST
          HOST enters the room.
                         
                          GOALQUEST HOST
           You ready to rock?
                         
          Ryan nods and gets up.
                         
                         
          INT. CONVENTION HALL, LAS VEGAS - DAY
                         
          Ryan stands in the wings. He takes a breath, then steps out
          in front of a sea of people.
                         
          The GOALQUEST XX stage is like nothing we've seen yet. Large
          and professional. Blue Banners hang from the ceiling. Digital
          projectors show Ryan's Headshot - What's In Your Backpack?
                         
          Ryan sets the BACK PACK on a table and quickly unzips it.
                         
          A breath.
                         
                          RYAN
           Last year, I flew three hundred
           fifty thousand miles. The moon is
           only two fifty.
                         
          A long beat. Uncomfortable. Ryan looks at the back pack.
                         
                          RYAN
           Imagine for a second that you're
           carrying a backpack... I want you
           to feel the straps on your
           shoulders... You feel them?
                         
          Ryan isn't feeling them. He is not inspired. He isn't
          believable. He's barely even there.
           102.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Now, I want you to pack it with all
           the stuff you have in your life.
           Start with the little things.
                         
          Ryan is trying, but he can't find the will to do this.
                         
                          RYAN
           The... um... The stuff in drawers
           and on shelves.
                         
          Ryan takes a beat. He just stares at the backpack and thinks
          about all the things he has removed from it... And then...
                         
                          RYAN
           Excuse me.
                         
          And with that, Ryan leaves the stage. Handlers try to figure
          out what Ryan is doing. The Host runs for the mic.
                         
                          GOALQUEST HOST
                          (TO RYAN)
           What the fuck are you doing?
                          (TO CROWD)
           Okay, everyone just relax. We'll
           have your next guest out in a sec.
                         
                         
          EXT. CONCOURSE, MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan hustles past SLOT MACHINES until he is actually jogging.
                         
                         
          INT. BOARDING GATE, MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan runs up to a gate. He's the last one to board.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - NIGHT
                         
          Over Ryan's shoulder, through the window, we see Chicago
          below as the flight begins its descent.
                         
                         
          INT. CORRIDOR OF LIGHT, CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan on the PEOPLE MOVER under the ceiling of NEON LIGHTS.
          Peaceful music emits from hidden speakers. Ryan walks briskly
          past idle riders.
           103.
                         
                         
          EXT. RENTAL CAR SATELLITE KIOSK, CHICAGO - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan hurriedly signs a hand-held device, hops into a SEDAN
          and speeds off. The RENTAL CAR ASSISTANT suddenly realizes...
                         
           RENTAL CAR ASSISTANT
           Hey, you forgot to give me your
           Devotion Club card!
                         
                         
          EXT. TOWNHOUSE, CHICAGO SUBURBS - NIGHT
                         
          Ryan steps out of his rental car and approaches the door of
          the townhouse - checking the address against a piece of
          HILTON STATIONARY.
                         
          Ryan stops, knocks, and puts on a smile.
                         
          We hear Footsteps. The door unlocks and opens revealing ALEX.
          She's wearing sweatpants and glasses. She's at home. She
          looks different.
                         
                          RYAN
           Surprise.
                         
          But there's something else. Alex is in shock... She's frozen.
                         
          Something's wrong. Ryan's smile begins to melt.
                         
          A man's voice calls from inside.
                         
           MAN'S VOICE (O.C.)
           Honey, who's at the door?
                         
          A couple kids run by through the background, giggling. A man
          chases after them.
                         
          Alex is still speechless. Her eyes are angry and apologizing
          all at the same time.
                         
          Ryan just stands there. Emotionally bleeding to death.
                         
                          ALEX
                          (ALMOST INAUDIBLE)
           What are you doing here?
                         
          Ryan begins to step away. He turns and heads for his car,
          dropping the flowers.
                         
          Alex's husband becomes visible just as she's shutting the door.
                         
                          ALEX'S HUSBAND
           Who was that?
           104.
                         
                         
                          ALEX
           ... just some guy who was lost.
                         
          Ryan gets in his rental car and drives off.
                         
                         
          EXT. CHICAGO HILTON - NIGHT
                         
          We're watching Ryan through his window from far away... almost
          as if looking through binoculars. He sits on his bed, tie
          undone, holding a glass with an inch of scotch on his knee.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S SUITE, CHICAGO HILTON - MORNING
                         
          We see quick glimpses of Ryan getting ready. Crappy little
          COFFEE MAKER crappily brewing. Crappy hotel BAR OF SOAP
          crappily lathering. Crappy HAIR DRYER crappily blowing.
                         
                         
          EXT. AIR TRAIN, CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT - MORNING
                         
          Ryan is on the phone with Alex.
                         
                          RYAN
           How could you lie to me?
                         
                          INTERCUT WITH:
                         
                         
          INT. ALEX'S CAR, DOWNTOWN GARAGE - SAME
                         
          Alex sits in the car with the engine running.
                         
                          ALEX
           What were you thinking - Just
           showing up at my door like that?
                         
                          RYAN
           What do you mean? I wanted to see
           you. I didn't know you had a family
           - Why didn't you tell me that?
                         
                          ALEX
           Come on, I thought we signed up for
           the same thing.
                         
                          RYAN
           Try to help me understand. What is
           it you signed up for?
                         
                          ALEX
           I thought our relationship was
           perfectly clear. You're...
                          (MORE)
           105.
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           (a long beat)
           ... an escape.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm an escape?
                         
                          ALEX
           You know, a break from our normal
           lives... A parenthesis.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm a parenthesis?
                         
                          ALEX
           Seriously, Ryan? I can't believe
           we're having this conversation. I
           mean what do you want?
                         
          Ryan stumbles on this. What does he want?
                         
                          ALEX (CONT'D)
           You don't even know what you want.
           I'm sorry that I ruined your night...
           But you could have seriously screwed
           things up for me. That was my family.
           That's my real life.
                         
                          RYAN
           I thought I was a part of your real life.
                         
                          ALEX
                          (SIGHS)
           Look, Ryan. I'm a grown up. I don't
           hold a grudge. When you're ready to
           be an adult and see me again, just
           give me a call.
                         
          Ryan can't quite believe what he's hearing. There's only one
          thing he can do. He hangs up.
                         
                         
          EXT. ESCALATOR, CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT - MORNING
                         
          Ryan is walking when his phone buzzes. He checks the DISPLAY -
          CTC Calling. He presses IGNORE.
                         
                         
          INT. TICKET DESK - CHICAGO O'HAIRE - DAY
                         
          Ryan walks up to the TICKET DESK. He is more lost than usual.
          There is something plucky about the TICKET AGENT.
                         
           PLUCKY TICKET AGENT
           Welcome back, Mr. Bingham.
           106.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Yeah, right, you got me in 2C?
                         
           PLUCKY TICKET AGENT
           Of course. Left side aisle, non-
           bulkhead. Just like you like it.
                         
                          RYAN
           What's got you so fucking happy?
                         
          The plucky agent fades a bit, then tries to recompose.
                         
           PLUCKY TICKET AGENT
           Your boarding card, Mr. Bingham.
                         
          Ryan takes the ticket and exits.
                         
                         
          INT. BOEING 757 - DAY
                         
          Ryan sits doing nothing. Others around him play Sudoku, read
          trashy paperbacks, work on laptops. Ryan just stairs at the
          stitching on the seat in front of him. When... "Bing"
                         
                          PURSER
           Ladies and gentlemen, we have a
           special announcement to make.
                         
          Passengers look up.
                         
                          PURSER (CONT'D)
           Our pilot has just informed me that we
           are passing over the city of Mesa...
           which might not mean much to most of
           you, but means a lot to one of our
           fliers today, because he just hit
           TEN... MILLION... MILES...
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh no...
                         
          The Gershwin theme song for the airline rains down from the
          overhead speakers. Passengers clap. Flight attendants gather
          at Ryan's seat with big smiles and champagne.
                         
          Ryan doesn't even react. He's just stunned.
                         
          The flight attendants separate just enough for a man in a
          bomber jacket to squeeze through. It's Maynard Finch, the
          Chief Pilot from the commercial.
                         
                          MAYNARD FINCH
                          (TO RYAN)
           That seat taken?
           107.
                         
                         
          Maynard gives a little salute to his flight attendants, then
          slides by Ryan to the window seat.
                         
                          MAYNARD FINCH
           You're the youngest yet to hit
           twenty mil. Don't know where you
           found the time...
                          (REMEMBERS)
           Oh right, here you go.
                         
          Maynard pulls out a MEMBERSHIP CARD. It's actually been
          stamped from platinum.
                         
           MAYNARD FINCH (CONT'D)
           Seventh card we've made. Small club.
           We really appreciate your loyalty.
                         
          It has a pair of wings around "Member Number 7". Ryan holds
          it between his fingertips... Catches his own reflection.
                         
                          RYAN
           You know how many times I've
           thought about this moment? Played
           out the conversation I'd have with
           you right here.
                         
                          MAYNARD FINCH
           Really? What did you want to say?
                         
          A long beat.
                         
                          RYAN
           You know, I... I can't remember.
                         
                          MAYNARD FINCH
           That's alright. Happens to all of us.
           (attempts chit chat)
           So, where you from?
                         
          Ryan looks at him straight in the face.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm from here.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S OFFICE, CTC - NEXT DAY
                         
          Ryan picks up the phone at his desk. He removes his new TEN
          MILLION MILE CARD and dials a number off the back.
                         
                          AIRLINE OPERATOR
           Hello, Mr. Bingham.
           108.
                         
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh, how did you know it was me?
                         
                          AIRLINE OPERATOR
           This is your dedicated line. We
           reserve them for our most loyal and
           dedicated fliers.
                         
                          RYAN
           Oh. I'd like to transfer some of my
           miles. Can you open up an account
           under Jim and Julie Miller?
                         
                          AIRLINE OPERATOR
           Certainly. How many miles would you
           like to transfer?
                         
                          RYAN
           How many miles would it take to
           circle the globe?
                         
                          AIRPORT OPERATOR
           We have our "around-the-world" tickets.
           They're five hundred thousand miles each.
                         
                          RYAN
           Sounds perfect.
                         
          Craig enters Ryan's doorway.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Got a second?
                         
                          RYAN
           (to the airline operator)
           I'm going to have to call you right back.
                         
          Craig takes a seat across from Ryan.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           What happened to you yesterday? I
           was trying to reach you all day.
                         
                          RYAN
           I got tied up in... personal stuff.
           What's going on?
                         
          An uncomfortable beat.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Do you remember Karen Barnes?
                         
          Ryan doesn't.
           109.
                         
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           She was part of a thirty person
           reduction a few weeks back in
           Wichita. Natalie fired her.
                         
                          RYAN
           No, I fire dozens of people a day.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           She killed herself. Jumped off a bridge.
                         
                          RYAN
           Fuck.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
                          (AGREES)
           Yeah.
                          (FORMALITY)
           Do you remember anyone giving you any
           signals of anything? Depression?
                         
                          RYAN
           They're all depressed. We're firing them.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Hey, look, you know I have to ask.
                         
                          RYAN
           No, I don't remember anything. Of
           course they're upset. You never
           think that...
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Wasn't any woman who gave you any
           indication...? Anything?
                         
          Ryan remembers her.
                         
                          RYAN
           No, nothing that stands out.
                          (A THOUGHT)
           Is Natalie alright? Is she coming in?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Natalie quit.
                         
          Ryan isn't surprised.
                         
                          RYAN
           Just like that?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Text message.
           110.
                         
                         
          Ryan stifles a laugh.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           Yeah, real fucking nice, right? No
           one has manners anymore.
                         
                          RYAN
           She say where she was going?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           Nah. She was pretty upset.
                         
                          RYAN
           I should give her a call.
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
                          (BUSINESS)
           I need you back in the air.
                         
          Ryan doesn't react.
                         
           CRAIG GREGORY (CONT'D)
           Did you hear me? I thought you'd be
           thrilled.
                         
                          RYAN
           I'm fine. What about video conferencing?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           CTC is pausing on the whole new media
           front for a moment. Giving it a little
           more thought. Getting our work horses
           back out doing what they do best.
                         
                          RYAN
           How long are you sending me out?
                         
                          CRAIG GREGORY
           We're going to let you sail and
           sail. Send us a postcard if you
           ever get there.
                         
          Ryan absorbs this. Nods.
                         
                         
          INT. OFFICE, SAN FRANCISCO - DAY
                         
          A MANAGEMENT LEVEL GUY sits at his desk. Bay Area sports
          paraphernalia on the wall.
                         
                          MANAGER
           So, what happened?
                         
          We turn to reveal Natalie.
           111.
                         
                         
                          NATALIE
           How exactly do you mean?
                         
                          MANAGER
           You graduated top of your class.
           You seemed to have your pick of
           employment... Including right here.
           Instead, you went to Omaha... to
           fire people for a living.
                         
                          NATALIE
                          (OBVIOUS COVER)
           It's challenging work.
                         
                          MANAGER
           I can't imagine doing that day-in-
           day-out. Not in this climate.
                         
                          NATALIE
           (after a beat)
           ... I followed a boy.
                         
          The manager smiles to himself.
                         
                          MANAGER
           Everybody does at one point or
           another.
                         
          The manager raises a letter - It's Ryan's letter.
                         
                          MANAGER
           This guy says I'd be lucky to have
           you.
                         
                         
          INT. RYAN'S OFFICE, CTC - DAY
                         
          Ryan writing the letter. We hear what he's writing...
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           To whom it may concern, I can't even
           count the number of people I've fired
           in my lifetime. So many, that I've
           forgotten what it's like to actually
           hire somebody. We've never met, but I
           know you'd be lucky to have Natalie
           Keener. My advice? Take her and don't
           look back. She'll be the best
           decision you've made in a long time.
                         
                         
          INT. OFFICE, SAN FRANCISCO - DAY
           112.
                         
                         
          The manager puts down the letter and reaches out a hand.
                         
                          MANAGER
           Hope he's right.
                         
          Natalie breaks into a smile, then jumps back to professional.
                         
                         
          INT. CORRIDOR, RYAN'S LOFT - DAY
                         
          Ryan steps out his front door, ROLL-AWAY in tow.
                         
                         
          INT. OMAHA AIRPORT - DAY
                         
          Ryan walks through the automated door. He looks like he did
          in the opening of the film. Maybe even wearing the same
          clothes. Something is different though.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           Tonight, most people will be
           welcomed home by jumping dogs and
           squealing kids. Their spouses will
           ask about their day and tonight
           they'll sleep.
                         
          Ryan stops and looks up at a GIANT BOARD OF DESTINATIONS. An
          endless list of cities around the world. A menu of new lives
          departing every five minutes.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           The stars will wheel forth from their
           daytime hiding places.
                         
          We look back at Ryan. His eyes lock on one of the cities. We
          don't see which one. He makes a mental decision and turns in
          the direction of the gate. He lets go of his ROLL-AWAY.
                         
           RYAN (V.O.)
           And one of those lights, slightly
           brighter than the rest, will be my
           wingtip, passing over, blessing them.
                         
          Ryan takes a step, but before his foot can land we...
                         
           CUT TO CLOUDS